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Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

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The Youthful Offender Act was enacted to give lower courts sentencing alternatives for defendants who are under 21-years-old and meet certain eligibility criteria. If you meet these criteria in Miami, it may be possible to ask the court to sentence you as a youthful offender, and these penalties are less harsh than adult sentencing. A skillful Miami criminal defense attorney with knowledge of sentencing alternatives can help you make sense of your options. In a recent Florida case, an appellate court reconsidered an earlier ruling about its sentencing of a defendant previously deemed a youthful offender.

The case arose when a young man was charged with aggravated battery. His sentence was imposed pursuant to the Youthful Offender Act, which permits at most six years of incarceration for those treated as youthful offenders. Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence involved 479 days in prison plus 18 months community control and 18 months of probation. After the community control was revoked for a substantive violation, the lower court sentenced him to a mandatory minimum term of 20 years imprisonment under the 10-20-Life statute, section 775.087(2)(a).

The appellate court affirmed. Later the sentence was amended to state he retained his status as a youthful offender. He filed several challenges to his sentence. Among these challenges was a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a). He claimed the mandatory minimum term was unlawful since was more than the most the court could impose for a youthful offender’s second-degree felony.

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The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has published numerous articles relating to a study the newspaper did reviewing crimes in Florida from 2004 through 2015. According to the Herald-Tribune, “The investigation revealed that blacks are more likely to be found guilty than whites in Florida; they are more likely to spend time behind bars; their sentences are usually longer; and they are not given as many opportunities to avoid incarceration through pretrial diversion.”

The Herald-Tribune found that conservatives were generally harder on blacks than Democrats, with GOP judges sentencing blacks to 21 percent more time in jail or prison than white defendants busted on third-degree felonies. One judge who defied those numbers, however, was Dennis Murphy, a registered Republican who is a judge for the 11th Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County. 

“That’s something I try to take to heart and apply to cases across the board,” Murphy told the Herald-Tribune. “Does this sentence fit with what I have been doing? Does it fit the crime? Does it fit the others I have given out? I try to give each case individual consideration. I am trying not to do this in a vacuum.” 

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The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported October 15 that a 24-year-old Miami Gardens man charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) linebacker at a party has invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law to argue that all criminal charges should be dismissed. A grand jury also indicted the alleged offender on two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of two other people at the party. 

According to the News-Journal, the alleged offender’s attorney filed a motion that states the two other people were shot unintentionally while the alleged offender was defending himself from the football player. The motion claims the alleged offender is about 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 108 pounds while the linebacker was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 235 pounds. 

According to the motion, the alleged offender claims he was “minding his own business not bothering anyone” at the party when he was attacked and beaten by the football player and one of his friends who also played college football and was 6 feet 2 inches and weighed 225 pounds. While waiting for his ride in the parking lot, the alleged offender claims he was confronted and threatened again by the linebacker and at least two others. The motion states that the alleged offender “was forced to make use of the firearm to either save his life or prevent further infliction of serious bodily injury.” 

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Have you been charged with murder? Are you not sure what to do? In Florida, it is the unlawful killing of a human being. In Florida there are different degrees of Murder depending on how the crime is committed.

In Florida, First Degree Murder is premeditated murder, felony murder and murder committed during drug related offenses.

  1. Premeditated Murder: To prove premeditated murder, the prosecution must show that the defendant prepared to commit the crime and had the intent to commit murder. Evidence must be shown that the defendant took steps to commit the murder and had a plan to commit murder.
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Resisting arrest is a serious charge which requires a strong legal defense.  Since the person was already being arrested for a crime separate from resisting the arrest itself, resisting becomes much more difficult to defend against than the original crime, and can also make the original crime more difficult to defend against.

Florida code 843.02 describes resisting arrest as:

Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.—Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10 (1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

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If you have been charged with robbery or burglary, do not waste any time employing the services of a trusted, experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Robbery and burglary are serious crimes with stiff, unrelenting penalties. If you are charged with one of these crimes, what do you need to know before your court date? Continue reading to learn more.

If you find yourself in this alarming situation, do not panic. The Hoffman Firm has an expert legal team lead by Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Evan Hoffman, who is a former prosecutor and an experienced criminal lawyer. The Hoffman Firm can help you if you are under investigation for this serious crime; to learn more about us and our services, call (305) 249-0090 or contact us online.

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