Uber driver faces felony charges for alleged theft from passenger

The majority of Uber rides end after the passenger arrives at his or her destination and exits the vehicle. As several news outlets recently reported, this was not the case for a Florida man who unfortunately became the victim of theft when his Uber driver asked to came inside his home after arriving at the destination. That driver now faces serious criminal charges. Mark Taiclet, 48, told police he allowed the driver, 33-year-old Brandi Begerow, into his home to use the bathroom. Taiclet claimed he had no recollection of what happened afterwards. He believed Begerow drugged him before allegedly stealing...

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How a Miami kidnapping suspect walked free after being charged with attempted abductions

A recent Florida kidnapping case highlights the importance of having a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney on your side. When faced with criminal charges, it is important to seek help from someone who can stand up to prosecutors who are willing to go to great lengths to obtain a criminal conviction. Marshawn Andrews, 25, walked out of the Miami-Dade courthouse a free man on January 13. The authorities dropped multiple charges against him, including aggravated battery, attempted sexual battery on a minor, and lewd and lascivious conduct. Andrews was accused of attempting to kidnap several teenage girls in Miami last year....

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Police lieutenant with spotless record charged with domestic violence

A Hollywood, Florida, police lieutenant was arrested after his wife accused him of hitting and kicking her. He was charged with one count of domestic violence-related battery. As the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, he could be jailed for up to one year. Officers responded to a domestic disturbance at Lt. Michael David McKinney’s home, where he lives with his wife of one year. According to a police report, a verbal argument between the couple turned physical. McKinney, 49, allegedly hit his wife twice on her head and kicked her left rib area. Police noted swelling and bruises on her...

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Falling crime rates and faulty enforcement strategies

Florida’s 2016 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report showed a year-over-year decline in the overall crime rate of 3.4 percent, which currently sits at a 45-year low. Domestic violence convictions fell 3.4 percent for the same period. However, efforts to combat domestic violence continue to ramp up throughout the nation – sometimes using dubious tactics. In Illinois, for example, a new law will require hairstylists to receive training on how to spot signs of domestic violence and be on the lookout for those signs on their clients. The course is only one hour long. Imagine being falsely suspected of domestic violence because...

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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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