About once a
year the Sheriff’s department makes a series of arrests of gay men in the South
Sarasota County Parks. The men are
charged with a variety of offenses involving lewd behavior or indecent exposure. The Sheriff’s press release usually claims
that the arrests are in response to citizen complaints. The arrests are an embarrassment to the men,
many of which have never been charged with a criminal offense in their
lives. In terms of profiles, most of the
men are white, middle to old aged, and otherwise crime free and arrest free.
The same goes for prostitution. It is the world’s oldest profession. If we had legalized prostitution, it would all but wipe out human trafficking. What man would risk getting an STD or getting rolled and robbed by a drug addict if he could go to a legitimate house of prostitution where the women are registered, regularly health inspected, and ply their profession in a safe and controlled environment. Men have been paying women for sex since the beginning of time. As a sex crime lawyer, it seems to me, that a better answer is to tolerate consensual sexual encounters between consenting adults.
settlement against Purdue Pharmaceutical will have no impact here in
Florida. Did you know that only one in
nine people addicted to an opiate gets treatment? Here in Sarasota and Bradenton, we are still
seeing people overdosing as a result of opiate addiction die needlessly. In the meantime, companies like Purdue
Pharmaceutical have made billions in obscene profits. This is not just an issue of law enforcement,
it is a health crisis. The Florida
legislature and law enforcement across the state still does not understand that
this is a medical issue, not just a “crime” issue. The real drug dealers are the huge
pharmaceutical companies that started this nightmare.
It was short sighted to simply create a drug database and crack down on the pill mills without dealing with all the people already addicted to the opiates. They simply switched to heroin and now Fentanyl. There are no old drug addicts. The all die. If you have a loved one addicted to an opiate, they need help and intervention. Unless and until the addiction problem is dealt with, law enforcement will never make a dent in the problem. As long as there is demand, someone will provide a supply.
If you got into an argument, and someone called 911, chances are, someone is going to jail. People think that the police will just come out and calm things down. Most of the time however, when the police respond, someone is going to jail. The police are afraid that if they don’t arrest someone, and the argument later turns deadly, they will get sued. Someone is going to jail. Many times it is the wrong person. Men are at a disadvantage, particularly if the responding officer is a woman. Many times the police side with the woman, even if she was the instigator or the real aggressor. As a Sarasota criminal defense attorney, all too often I see a first appearance judge set a high bond, or set release conditions that make it all but impossible for the parties to reconcile. In my opinion, what couples need is help, not another impediment to reuniting.
In March, here in Sarasota, arrests for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription skyrocketed. Most of those arrests were for some sort of prescription medication, in most instances, an opiate. Many normal everyday ordinary people have become addicted to pain killers in one form or another. We are still dealing with the problem created by the big pharmaceutical companies years ago. Some of those companies are now being sued and going into bankruptcy. That does not help the addicts left behind, now being run through the criminal justice system. If you have been arrested in Sarasota on a drug charge, things are not hopeless. You can get help, both legal as well as help in dealing with your addiction.
A conviction for a drug offense can really damage your future employment opportunities. It can result in a loss of your driver’s license. Pill addiction is a medical problem that turns into a legal problem. The answer is not jail, but rather treatment. If you became addicted as a result of a doctor over prescribing, and when your source dried up, you turned to heroin or fentanyl, your real risk is death. There are no old heroin addicts. They either clean up or die.
people get arrested in Sarasota and Manatee County for a violation of probation
than any other reason. The County jail is full of people being held
without bond for a violation of probation. Probation, sometimes is a trap
for the unwary. You may have taken a plea deal to avoid trial or have
simply followed the Public Defender’s advice and set yourself up for failure.
You do not have to commit a new crime to get arrested. If you do not pay your court costs, if you do not pay the fees for supervision imposed by the Court, if you do not pay restitution or if you simply miss an appointment with your probation officer a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Simply not having money to pay can get you arrested and thrown back in jail. Our Sarasota and Bradenton criminal defense firm has been defending probation violations for years. Do not wait to be arrested. If you have a problem with your probation officer, call today and we may be able to work it out before you are picked up for a violation.
New Crime Violations.
If you get arrested on a new charge while you are on probation, your probation officer will have you rearrested for a probation violation and you will sit in jail waiting for a hearing. The new offense may be incredibly minor but if it occurred while you were on supervision, you have huge problem. We may be able to convince the judge to release you while you wait for a probation violation hearing. Any conviction for a new offense violates your probation and subjects you to time in either County jail or State prison. Your sentencing guidelines may have been computed incorrectly or you simply may have not committed the new crime or violation. Do not wait until your hearing. Call us now for a free consultation.
Sex Offender Probation
A violation of sex
offender probation can land you in State prison. Often, electronic
monitors malfunction and register a false report. Often, a probation
officer fails to write down the details of your request or report to him.
Often the officer is simply out to get you and is searching for any reason to
violate you. You may have missed a deadline or appointment or forgotten
to call in or come in past curfew. You may have been forced to move
suddenly and not had time to report the new address. The probation
officers generally are not there to help you and some simply look for some
excuse to violate you put you back in jail. A violation must be willful
and substantial and we can many times convince the Court that your situation
was accidental or unintentional. If a loved one is in jail or if you have
been arrested on a violation of probation call today.
Our Sarasota office is on Ringling across from the jail, next to the Courthouse and steps from the probation office. Call today at 941-366-3506
There were two more child pornography arrests here in Sarasota this week.
The State Attorney seems to be continuing to manipulate the guidelines and is filing 40 Counts of second degree felonies in most of the cases. They do this to run up the guidelines to the point that a person faces 30 to 50 years in State prison. There is a real issue as to whether or not this constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the United States Constitution. In Sarasota, a person serves more time for looking at videos than actually having contact with a real child.
The policy here in Sarasota is at odds with what is going on in the rest of the State. How are the detectives making these cases? Let me explain. Every image or child pornography video has a hash value. That is like a fingerprint. When an identified image is transmitted over the Internet, a red flag goes up and law enforcement is notified. I puzzles me why they simply don’t pass a law directing the providers to simply block the transmission. If they can identify it, they can block it. Instead of blocking it, they identify the IP address it goes to and commence an investigation. The local detectives have specially designed computer programs that can come into a person’s computer without their knowledge. The person may not even be awake, sitting at their computer or even home when it happens.
The detectives then get a search warrant and come to the address where the computer is located and often trick the person into making admissions about viewing child porn. The manner in which they do this up subject to legal attack depending on the facts of each individual case. Why is the State Attorney here in Sarasota doing this?
Sadly the State believes that people that look at child porn go on to molest children. The statistics do not back this up. Sadly the State believes that by burying people in State prison for life, they will stop child pornography. This belief is also mistaken. Most of the child porn is created overseas by people that will never get arrested or prosecuted. Also, the State believes that by prosecuting people who view it, they will stop the production. This belief simply is not true. As a sex crime lawyer here is Sarasota, I am doing all I can to educate the Courts and the State with respect to their mistaken beliefs. Many of the people who view child pornography
have been diagnosed as high functioning autistic. Many of the people who view it were victims of child sexual abuse in their childhood. Sadly, many of the prosecutors simply do not understand this.
If you want to discuss this issue or have a friend with this problem, feel free to
contact me at 941 366 3506
The police chief here in Sarasota announced three dozen arrests in the latest crack cocaine operation. For months the police have been making buys and just this week it came to a head with dozens of arrests.
Many people sell cocaine to support their habit. Many if not all of the people arrested had prior arrests and convictions. This comes two days before the United States Senate passed a criminal justice reform bill allowing judges more discretion in avoiding minimum mandatory sentences. Dealing crack ultimately is a one way ticket to prison. If you have been arrested for sale of cocaine or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, it is possible to turn your life around. No one wants to spend life in prison or keep going through the criminal justice system over and over. It is possible to get help.
Many of the crack addicts have switched to Meth which is now much easier to get. In the short term, an addict can support a habit by dealing, but in the long run, it is a one way street, downhill and ends in either death or prison. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer. , one of my goals is to try and help people get out of this downhill cycle. If you have a son or daughter that has been arrested for dealing crack and want to talk, give me a call. Most addicts are in denial and often the family has to step up and take the first step in getting them on the right track.
Many of the new arrests are based on what they call “controlled buys” where an undercover cop actually makes a buy, or uses an informant who is wired up with a recording device, to purchase a rock. The police often make multiple buys from the same person to run up the guideline score sheet to make sure the person scores for State prison. There may be a technical defense in terms of an illegal search and seizure or entrapment but controlled buy cases are really tough to defend. The Public Defender is often overworked and underpaid and you want to get a loved one a quality criminal defense or get a loved one real help, often a private good Sarasota defense lawyer is a better answer. It does not cost anything for a free consultation
Christmas and New Years are supposed to be a time for friends and families to celebrate the holidays. Holiday traffic can lead to “road rage” arrests. Fighting over a parking space is just not worth it. Holiday shopping and the financial stress on husbands and wives can lead to arguments that get out of hand. Throw a little alcohol into the mix and before you know it someone lands in jail for “domestic violence”. An angry word, a sarcastic comment and a few drinks can lead to loved ones fighting over something that really is not important.
If you get arrested for “domestic battery”, often the judge at your fist appearance enters a no contact order.
That will ruin Christmas for the entire family. At our criminal defense firm, one of our goals is to heal and reunite the family, when possible. Things can really get out of hand. If one person hits the other with any kind of object or weapon, they will get arrested for aggravated battery. If someone gets stitches, someone is going to jail. If a deadly weapon is used, the bail bond is usually high and the penalties are increased.
The holidays are a time for happiness. If a loved one has been arrestedand the bond is set too high, a quick bond reduction hearing is necessary. Don’t let a husband, a wife, a loved one sit in jail waiting for the Public Defender to “get to it”. It costs nothing to call most lawyers’ offices for a free consultation. It the person hit was over 65, it is a felony. If the person was a grandparent elderly, the charge may be “elderly abuse”. The holidays should be a time for families to get together and celebrate, not agitate.
From our Criminal law office here in Sarasota ……We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
No one can deny we have an opiate problem in America.
We can debate how that came about but we cannot deny it. The drug companies no doubt are the root cause. But drug companies are big and powerful, and like the cigarette companies, for decades, they have bought and paid for the people in politics with campaign contributions. The net result is that millions of Americans got hooked on pain killing pills. The government tightened up on the pills but now the pills have been replaced with heroin and fentanyl. Addicts need money to support their habit.
This is where the pawn shops come in.
Addicts, when they have burned through their money and relatives, turn to stealing. They steal from everybody and anybody. They steal from grandparents, employers, friends, relatives and often during burglaries. They convert the stolen goods to money at the pawn shops. The pawn shops get the goods for pennies on the dollar and sell them at a huge profit. They have to know they are buying stolen goods if the same addicts come in day after day, often with new items, still in the box.
Here in Sarasota and in Bradenton, the police and the State Attorney never go after this link in the crime cycle. They charge the addict with dealing in stolen property and defrauding a pawnbroker, but they never charge the pawn shop operator. I had a case where an addict pawned over $100,000 worth of items stolen from his employer. He went to the pawn shop almost every day during lunch break and pawned brand new items still in the original box. There is no possible way the pawn shop operator cannot know he is buying stolen goods. But who gets prosecuted? The addict does. Under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines, the addict will always “score” for prison because of the multiple transactions. The pawn shop guys turn a blind eye to the obvious, and so do the police
Internet providers have the ability to simply block child porn, as do the law enforcement agencies. Instead, they let it come through and make arrests. Here in Sarasota and Manatee County, over and over, the police make child pornography arrests. Law enforcement gets information from the Internet companies every time a known child pornography image is transmitted. Law enforcement has an “inventory” of known child porn hash values for millions of images and videos. Each video or image has a unique fingerprint called a hash value. They have a special application that tracks each image when it is transmitted. They then get a report identifying the address it goes to. After identifying the IP address, they get a search warrant for the address, execute the warrant, and in many instances coerce a confession.
If law enforcement has an application that identifies the contraband image, why not simply have the providers block it. In a microsecond, the transmission would be blocked and no crime would be committed. In a matter of days, law enforcement could block 99% of all known child pornography.
Don’t they have an obligation to the victims to block it if they can?
Instead, law enforcement lets it go through, simply to be able to make an easy arrest. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, freedom of the press or censorship. If the image or video is per se contraband and per se illegal, why not just block it. It seems only logical that one of the missions of law enforcement should be to prevent crime. Detecting and prosecuting crime is time-consuming and expensive. It ties up law enforcement as well as the courts. Why not just prevent it with a simple application? I guess that makes too much sense.
In the meantime, here in Sarasota, the child pornography arrests continue. It makes good press for the State Attorney and the Sheriff. I have always thought that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The other sad reality is that most of the people that look at child pornography were at one times victims themselves. That is why they do it. Often our criminal justice system grinds up and punishes people who need help.
A blind policy of 50 years in prison does not address the problem.