May 25th, 2011
The public tuned in Tuesday for the opening statements of the Casey Anthony trial where Anthony finally stated her defense. Back in 2008 this case was showcased on news outlets everywhere, leading many to believe that Casey Anthony murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
During the opening statements we heard two different stories. The prosecutors claimed that Caylee suffocated from duct tape placed on her nose and mouth while defendants argued that Caylee drowned in the family pool. To complicate this trial even more, the autopsy was not able to determine how Caylee died.
An article in Seattle pi quotes Casey Anthony’s criminal defense attorney, Jose Baez saying that
“Casey should have called 911. That’s what she’s guilty of, she’s not guilty of murder. This is not a murder case.”
The article goes into more specifics as to what the defense is arguing in favor of Anthony including accusations that the police performed a “botched investigation” to feed the media a story of a murdering mother.
To further explain Casey Anthony’s bizarre behavior following her daughter’s disappearance, the defense contends that Casey was sexually molested by her father from the time she was 8 years old. This was a very dysfunctional family that had secrets, dirty secrets. The defense made specific challenges to the evidence the state will likely introduce and better be able to back up those claims through cross-examination or in their own case. One thing is for sure, Casey Anthony is going to have to take the witness stand after that opening statement.
May 19th, 2011
We’ve all seen it in the movies; “cop” bangs on door, people inside scatter and hide weapons/drugs, someone answers the door and “cops” search the home. Pretty standard right? This is not what happened in a recent case in Kentucky…
According to an article from the Orlando Sentinel, Kentucky police were following a man who they believed to be a drug dealer. The man went into an apartment building but the law enforcement officials lost track of which unit he entered. The police smelled marijuana coming from one door and knocked on it. They heard rummaging and announced they were coming in. They did not find the drug dealer but instead found Hollis King with marijuana and cocaine. King convicted of drug trafficking but later his conviction was overturned by the Kentucky Supreme Court accusing the officers of violating his 4th Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure). The U.S Supreme Court then heard an appeal from prosecutors and reversed the ruling. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr said
“…the police conduct in this case ‘was entirely lawful,’ and they were justified in breaking down the door to prevent the destruction of the evidence.”
The Supreme Court passed a ruling allowing law enforcement to enter homes without a search warrant. If law officers knock loudly on the door and hear suspicious noises coming from inside, they can enter the home without a warrant or consent. Before this ruling, the law stood that officials could only enter the home without a search warrant if they had consent from the owner or if there was an emergency situation.
In the article, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argues
“the court’s approach arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the 4th Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases. She said the police did not face a ‘genuine emergency’ and should not have been allowed to enter the apartment without a warrant.”
This new law could potentially complicate the job of criminal defense lawyers because in the past, there was a logical defense when police didn’t have the explicit right to enter the home of the suspect. Now, we may come across the gray area of what was thought to have been heard and what the accused says happened. The line of violating the 4th Amendment could become blurred.
The Supreme Court arrived at an 8-1 decision allowing law enforcement officials to enter without a warrant if they are in pursuit of someone with drugs, knock loudly and can hear the destruction of evidence.
May 12th, 2011
The media plays an influential role in our life everyday, but will it play a role in the outcome of the very publicized Casey Anthony case?
Anthony is accused of murdering her two year old daughter in Orlando. A very public search was conducted to find the “missing” girl, who’s remains were found months later and fingers were pointed at mother Casey Anthony.
According to Anthony’s defense attorney Jose Baez, the standard microphones that are found in every courtroom are picking up private conversations between Anthony and Baez. Under the legal process, all conversations between the defendant and lawyer should be private. Baez requested that all the microphones to be removed excluding the Judge’s and the juror’s.
Judge Belvin Perry took many steps to make sure that the media was not an influence on the juror’s decision. Jurors pulled from Pinellas County were questioned more specifically about what they had heard about the case and how they felt about the death penalty. Perry decided to pull jurors from Pinellas County because the media coverage was not as extreme.
According to an article from the St. Pete Times, Jonathan Green really didn’t want to have jury duty. Green was fined $450 for contempt of court when he admitted to talking about the case to someone else. Green said, “I just wanted to get out of jury duty.” It is almost hard to blame Pinellas County citizens to not want to be a juror for this case. The jurors are expected to be in the Orlando courtroom everyday for 6-8weeks.
May 10th, 2011
Sunset Beach, a popular beach in Treasure Island, may be facing a ban of alcohol on their beaches- one of their biggest crowd drawing specs! Treasure Island officials say that the drinking has gotten out of hand.
According to a 10 News article, “the ordinance would ban alcohol on weekends from 8 a.m to 6 p.m, including holidays.” The City Commission voted unanimously for the drinking ban.
Many people opposed to the ordinance showed up at the meeting last week. Some argued that it would hurt small business owners because of the crowd that has drawn specifically because the beach permits alcohol. Others argued that is was unfair to ban alcohol all together just because of other people’s actions. But residents from the Sunset Beach area who are for the ban argued that the allowance of alcohol leads to inappropriate behavior and fights in their neighborhoods.
There will be a second meeting to discuss this ordinance sometime next week and if it passes again, the ban will immediately take effect. It will be interesting to see how officials will regulate the ban on alcohol at Sunset Beach.
May 6th, 2011
This doesn’t mean your case will go away. All this means, is that any incriminating statements that you had made cannot be used against you in court. If the officer wants to ask you questions other than your name and address, s/he will then read your rights. At this time, you do not have to answer any questions because they will be used against you in the court of law.
A tactic that law enforcement sometimes use is asking you questions before reading you rights, getting you to admit something and then reading you your rights and asking the questions again. For the most part, the person under question would assume since they already made a confession or incriminating statement, the officers already know the truth so how else could it hurt them? This is false. Since they got you to admit something after reading you your rights, all statements thereafter will be used against you. Anything you say before your rights are read cannot and will not be used as incriminating evidence. The most important thing you can do while being investigated after an arrest is to call a criminal defense lawyer and make no statements before doing so.
May 4th, 2011
So we’ve talked about Facebook before, how Sheriff’s offices utilize it to post pictures/videos of open cases, how some Attorney’s use Facebook in the juror selection process and now, how Facebook is cited in 90% of divorce cases.
According to a St. Petersburg 10 News article, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers discovered that Facebook is involved in one in five divorce cases. Whether it is from parents allowing illegal activities like underage drinking, or if it is a picture a spouse out on the town, lawyers are seeing more and more encounters with Facebook.
With all this action coming from Facebook, Attorney’s have no choice but to become a master at internet photo searches. A simple Google image search can result in pictures that some are unaware are even out on the internet. Untagged pictures or pictures from a deactivated Facebook account can still be found. Divorce Attorney Carin Constantine was interviewed by the St. Petersburg 10 news team and commented,
“Those pictures are still accessible by us, and we can still print them and we can still use them as evidence in your divorce case.”
Privacy settings are controlled by the individual, but the default settings that Facebook sets you up with are not ideal. The best advice would be to go into those settings and make it so only those people who you want to see your personal information/pictures can. For the future, ask friends and family not to tag you in any pictures if you want to avoid any controversy.