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May 2014 Archives

Tampa man killed by police during search warrant execution

Earlier this week in Tampa, a man died of gunshot wounds that occurred during a SWAT team's execution of a search warrant at his home. Police reportedly opened fire upon the man when he pointed a handgun at them from a bedroom. Those officers are currently on administrative leave until an investigation is complete, which is a standard procedure in such cases.

Federal sentencing standards in drug cases set to change

When it comes to criminal defense work, it is important to be aware not only of the law and the criminal process itself, but also which judge is handling the case. While this is particularly important on appeal, it is also important at the trial level and even at sentencing. One example of this is in drug cases. As of right now, the state of the law regarding federal sentencing for drug crimes is in flux. At the federal level, there has been a shift to reducing prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

Federal Crimes Include Spice Distribution in Tampa?

Federal Crimes are expanding to include spice and other synthetic drugs. The feds are making synthetic drug conspiracies federal crimes. Spice refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as "safe," legal alternatives to that drug. Sold under many names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others — and commonly labeled "not for human consumption" — these products contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects.

Indicted for synthetic drug charges?

Drug Charges for synthetic drug distribution and conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs are on the rise. Known by street names such as "Molly", "Spice" and "Bath Salts". The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is cracking down on synthetic drug distribution and is arresting many federal defendants on federal drug charges. The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Southern District of Florida are focusing federal indictments on conspiracy to distribute, and distributing, controlled substance analogue AM2201 and other synthetic drugs. The government not only uses federal grand juries to indict federal defendants for federal synthetic drug conspiracies but also to forfeit money, representing the proceeds of the synthetic drug conspiracies and also the content of bank accounts and residences.

Health care executives get prison time for white collar offenses

It should come as little surprise to people in the Tampa area that federal prosecutors take their jobs very seriously, especially when it involves cases involving the defrauding of the federal government. In some cases, however, judges will not always impose the maximum penalty in these cases, for reasons that sometimes follow more logic than federal sentencing guidelines might impart.

Knock-and-talk investigative procedure has limits

The way police do their investigative work can have a big impact on criminal prosecution. Police are bound by various rules designed to protect the rights of criminal suspects, and failure to abide by these rules can taint an investigation. An example of this would be when police conduct an illegal search for drugs which yields incriminating evidence. When this happens, one of the protections available to a defendant is to have that evidence excluded from trial. This can obviously weaken the prosecution's case.

Drug cases compromised due to tampering with evidence

Numerous drug cases across Florida have potentially been compromised due to an investigation involving a former analyst for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Pensacola lab who authorities have accused of tampering with evidence. Apparently the former analyst stole narcotics from evidence bags, and thereby compromised evidence to be used in various Florida drug trials. While the exact number of cases to be affected isn't noted by sources, 35 different counties throughout the state are suspected of having compromised drug cases.

Obama's initiative is exposing more federal inmates to the possibility of clemency

An Obama administration initiative to encourage nonviolent drug offenders in federal prison to seek clemency is likely to trigger tens of thousands of petitions. Clemency is the act by an executive member of government of extending mercy to a convicted individual. In the United States, the pardon power for federal crimes is granted to the President under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. Obama's initiative was created with the purpose to reduce the prison population and to end disparities in drug sentencing. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole stated in a news conference, "for our criminal justice system to be effective, it needs to not only be fair but it also must be perceived as being fair." So what type of criteria must an inmate meet before they are applicable for consideration?

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