SCOTUS Rejects Interstate Marijuana Case

The Constitution gives the Supreme Court original jurisdiction in all cases in which a state is a party.  Art. III, §2, cl. 2.  Federal statutory law follows suit.  28 U.S.C. §1251(a).   Nevertheless, earlier today, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case in which Nebraska and Oklahoma wanted to sue Colorado.  I know, I know.  Who cares, right? Well, the thing of it is, those interested in the legalization of marijuana nationwide should. Recall, although federal law prohibits the manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, and possession of marijuana, the State of Colorado, in 2012, amended its state constitution to legalize, regulate, and...

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How Unappealing: Managing Expectations on Appeal

Whenever someone is in the unfortunate position to have taken a case to trial and lost, his or her focus might immediately shift to filing a direct appeal.  Of course, just about any trial lawyer will tell you that few trials are ever conducted without error, and appealing a case to ensure that those errors were not harmful or fundamental might be appropriate.  After all, the appellate process has a special place in our American criminal jurisprudence.  (In Miami, appeals from trial cases in circuit court are filed in the Third District of Appeal. ) That (formally accused, now convicted) person, and/or his or her family,...

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“Not Guilty, Demand Discovery, and Trial by Combat”

Pop into any courtroom in the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building (the state criminal courthouse here in Miami) while an arraignment is taking place and you will undoubtedly hear defense attorneys reciting: "We enter a plea of not guilty, your honor, demand discovery, and set the case for trial by jury." What you probably won't hear is "...and set the case for trial by combat."  But one lawyer in Staten Island, NY, did just that--he demanded a trial by combat after being sued for allegedly helping his client shelter money from a civil judgment. Wikipedia has an interesting historical recount of trial...

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Obama’s Prison Visit Highlights Apathy of Prior Presidents

President Obama will forever be remembered as the "first" to do many things.  And with his recent visit to a federal prison in Oklahoma, he added to that list by becoming the first sitting president to make such a trip--no, not to El Reno Correctional Institution specifically (although that's true too), but rather, to any federal prison in general.  For this, he has received great notoriety, and rightfully so. He is unquestionably a trailblazer in this respect; as for being a trendsetter, that remains to be seen. But it's not the future behavior of presidents unknown that concerns me; rather, it's the past...

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The “Cannibal Cop” Appeal Explored

I fancy myself a documentary-film aficionado.  When the subject matter is criminal law, it's a true win-win.  Last week, I had occasion to see a newly-released HBO documentary titled, "Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop."  It was fascinating.  For those of you who didn't see it, I suggest you watch it. It centered around the case of Gilberto Valle, the former NYPD Police Officer labeled the "Cannibal Cop."  The release of the documentary coincided with the actual case's oral argument before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (a federal appellate court sitting in New York) on May 12, 2015, which...

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Bath Salts, Ignorance of the Law, and the “Knowingly a Bad Guy” Theory

We've all heard the expression that "ignorance of the law is no excuse."  It means that a person cannot escape punishment for violating criminal laws regardless of whether he or she knew of their existence.  Being well versed in the laws doesn't provide an avenue for relieve for criminals either. The case of Stephen McFadden, (McFadden v. United States, Docket No. 14-378), a petitioner whose case is pending decision from our nation's highest court, elucidates this point.  McFadden may fairly be viewed as many things (e.g. entrepreneurial for sure, and seemingly well-intended), but ignorant of the law is not one of them...

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Florida Judges Must Wear Black Robes

As recently recounted by the Miami Herald, all Florida judges are now obligated to wear black robes without "embellishments."  This order is directly from the top judge himself: Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the Florida Supreme Court. To some members of the general public, they may be wondering what changed.  But to those of us who traverse the halls of our state courthouses, we know that not all judges wear black robes, and those that do often wear pins or jewelry with them.  Think this isn't a big deal for some judges?  Think again.  Some judges have been vocal about...

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FL’s Criminal Justice System: The Courts (Part 1)

In my practice, I find that an extraordinarily high number of clients are simply unaware of how our state's court system is structured, let alone works.  If you are count yourself among the unfamiliar, worry not.  In a series of blog posts that I'll caption "FL's Criminal Justice System," I will endeavor to breakdown this vital information into easy-to-understand, digestible pieces.  Part 1 is titled, "The Courts," because before you can understand how the process works, you have understand the parts involved. For starters, in criminal law, there are basically two types of courts: trial and appellate. A trial court is what...

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Speedy Trial or Fair Trial – Not a “Hobson’s Choice”

As a criminal defense lawyer, I am often faced with a series of inquiries from friends and family like, "How can you represent those people?"  (Roy Black has a very interesting blog post (and twist) on this precise question). A less-prevalent, but nonetheless common, question is: "Have you ever gotten someone off on a technicality? (And if so, how do you sleep at night?)" Put simply, I reject the premise that underlies such a question.  What are "technicalities" under the law?  I can think of none.  For, at least in my view, the Rules of Criminal Procedure, Florida & Federal Statutes, and Florida...

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Is Florida’s application of the Circumstantial Evidence Rule at risk?

It would appear that the Florida circumstantial evidence rule is at risk of being, if not outright removed, substantially modified (or, stated another way, clarified).  Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral argument in Knight v. State, a constructive possession of cannabis case, to address the issue.  The advocate for the State of Florida was lobbying for a very broad (defense un-friendly) rule of law.  This opinion will be enormously important. This article was authored by Jordan Redavid, Esq., a founding partner at Redavid Law PLLC.  Jordan Redavid is a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer who represents people from DUI...

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