Pill mill charges dropped after investigators embarrass themselves

As Florida’s statewide crackdown on pill mills continues, authorities have been forced in recent weeks to deal with a pair of public embarrassments due to misconduct by investigators. In November, prosecutors had to drop a case against a Winter Park doctor accused of writing fraudulent prescriptions when it was revealed that a state trooper had been involved in an extramarital affair with a key witness. The second incident involved four Orlando-area law enforcement officers who are alleged to have conspired to illegally search a storage unit where they believed drugs were being stored. All four now face misdemeanor charges, and...

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Why you should support Amendment 2

This Election Day, November 8, you have a chance to make a positive change in both health care and criminal justice with a single vote. I urge you to vote Yes on Amendment 2. It’s time to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. To be clear, marijuana is used for medical purposes in Florida every day. Cancer patients use it to combat nausea and restore appetite during chemotherapy. Multiple sclerosis patients use it to reduce spasticity. And those with glaucoma find it decreases eye pressure. But today, Floridians with these debilitating illnesses must decide whether to risk arrest and incarceration in...

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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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Third DCA Takes on Daubert & Police Identification of Marijuana

There's an age old saying: "The wheels of justice turn slow."  It's been over twenty years since the United States Supreme Court decided Daubert v. Merrll Dow Pharmaceuticals, which held that Federal Rule of Evidence 702 should no longer be limited only to the "general acceptance"(or Frye)  standard for assessing the admissibility of scientific expert testimony.  Since that time, the federal courts have been dealing with the implications of that holding.  In subsequent cases -- e.g. General Electric Co. v. Joiner and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael -- the Supreme Court has further expounded upon this principle. But the holding of Daubert didn't...

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This Day In Miami History – July 28 – The Miami Cocaine Pony

Miami and cocaine are inextricably linked.  (Refer to Cocaine Cowboys if you're unsure why).  And on this day in Miami history, the two appeared in a news story that was indelibly inked. On July 28, 1990 (*some reports show July 26, but History.com shows July 28), Maximo Menendez fell into a coma (and later died) after consuming excessive amounts of cocaine.  But it's how he consumed the cocaine that is noteworthy.  Maximo was drinking a non-alcoholic malt-- Pony Malta de Bavaria, to be specific--his mother had purchased at a local Sedanos.  After drinking half a bottle, Maximo left for work where, shortly before convulsing,...

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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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Ultra Music, Ultra Arrests

The Miami Ultra Music Festival is back -- well, almost.  It starts later this week.  This festival brings people from all over the country to enjoy the festival and its EDM culture. I say, "Welcome to Miami."  (Unfortunately,  so do the police).  It always feels like the police harvest on these festival-goers; targeting them for drug-related arrests.  I'm always waiting for the honest officer to write in his or her Arrest Form: "Subject was seen wearing a lanyard around his/her neck with a ticket to the Ultra Music Festival.  That, alone, gave me reasonable suspicion to suspect a drug crime...

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