Saturday, December 06, 2014

No Phone Zone - Jurors Must Log Off Says Florida Court

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No Phone Zone for Jurors
In a mere 43 pages, the Florida Supreme Court has told judges, civil, and criminal defense lawyers how to address widespread use of electronic devices by jurors in courts. We now have guidance on what is meant by turning off these devices. There are very specific instructions to be given during trials. The instructions now tell jurors what to do with computers, tablets, and cell phones during breaks and recesses. Jurors also receive an explanation of why they are to be disconnected with the outside world during jury service.

What has Florida told lawyers and Judges about use of electronics by Jurors?

"The rule provides that electronic devices will be removed from all members of a jury panel before jury deliberations begin.  The presiding judge may remove the jurors’ electronic devices at other stages of the trial.  If electronic devices are removed from members of the jury panel during trial, the judge may order them returned during recesses.  If a jury panel is sequestered, the judge may decide whether to remove electronic devices during the entire period of sequestration.  The rule also makes clear that during court proceedings, jurors cannot use their electronic devices to take photos or videos, or to transmit or access data or text.  At all times, jurors are prohibited from using the devices to research information about the case or to communicate with others about the case or jury deliberations." 

What does the Court mean when Jurors are told to turn off electronic devices?

"All cell phones, computers, tablets or other types of electronic devices must be turned off while you are in the courtroom. Turned off means that the phone or other electronic device is actually off and not in a silent or vibrating mode." 

What are Jurors told about use of electronics in Court? 

"Many of you have electronic devices such as cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, computers, and other electronic devices.  Even though you have not yet been selected as a juror, there are some strict rules that you must follow about using your cell phones, electronic devices and computers."
   
"When you are called to a courtroom, the judge will give you specific instructions on the use of electronic devices.  These rules are so important that the judge may tell you that you must turn off your cell phone or other electronic devices completely or that you cannot have your cell phone or electronic devices in the courtroom.  If someone needs to contact you in case of an emergency, the judge will provide you with a phone number where you can receive messages."
     
"If the trial judge allows you to keep your cell phones, computers, or other electronic devices, you cannot use them to take photographs, video recordings, or audio recordings of the proceedings in the courtroom or your fellow jurors.  You must not use the many device to search the Internet or to find out anything related to any cases in the courthouse."

Why are Jurors told to log off of cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, computers, and other electronic devices.?
  
"Why is this restriction imposed?  This restriction is imposed because jurors must decide the case without distraction and only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.  I know that, for some of you, these restrictions affect your normal daily activities and may require a change in the way you are used to communicating and perhaps even in the way you are used to learning."

"If you investigate, research, or make inquiries on your own, the trial judge has no way to make sure that the information you obtain is proper for the case.  The parties likewise have no opportunity to dispute or challenge the accuracy of what you find.  Any independent investigation by a juror unfairly and improperly prevents the parties from having that opportunity our judicial system promises." 

"Between now and when you have been discharged from jury duty by the judge, you must not provide or receive / discuss any information about your jury service to / with anyone, including friends, co-workers, and family members. You may tell those who need to know where you are that you have been called for jury duty. If you are picked for a jury, you may tell people that you have been picked for a jury and how long the case may take. However, you must not give anyone any information about the case itself or the people involved in the case. You must also warn people not to try to say anything to you or write to you about your jury service or the case. This includes face-to-face, phone or computer communications."
  
"In this age of electronic communication,I want to stress that you must not use electronic devices or computers to talk about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, e-mailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other means at all.  Do not send or accept any messages, including e-mail and text messages, about your jury service. You must not disclose your thoughts about your jury service or ask for advice on how to decide any case."   
"After you are called to the courtroom, the judge will give you specific instructions about these matters.  The / A judge will tell you when you are released from this instruction.  Remember, these rules are designed to guarantee a fair trial.  It is important that you understand the rules as well as the impact on our system of justice if you fail to follow them.  If it is determined that any one of you has violated this rule, and conducted any type of independent research or investigation, it may result in a mistrial.  A mistrial would require the case to be tried again at great expense to the parties and the judicial system. The judge may also impose a penalty upon any juror who violates this instruction.  All of us are depending on you to follow these rules, so that there will be a fair and lawful resolution of every case. " 

What happens with electronics when jurors take a break or recess?

"We are about to take [our first] [a] recess. Remember that all of the rules I have given you apply even when you are outside the courtroom, such as at recess. "

"Remember the basic rule:  Do not talk to anyone, including your fellow jurors, friends, family or co-workers about anything having to do with this trial, except to speak to court staff.  This means no e-mailing, text messaging, tweeting, blogging, or any other form of communication."

"You cannot do any research about the case or look up any information about the case.  Remember to observe during our recess the other rules I gave you. If you become aware of any violation of any of these rules at all, notify court personnel of the violation."

"After each recess, please double check to make sure [that your cell phone or other electronic device is turned off completely] [that you do not bring your cell phone or other electronic device into the courtroom or jury room]."  

Cell Phone, cell phones, computer, computers, electronic devices, iPhone, jurors, laptops, smartphones, tablets,
Read the Complete Criminal and Civil Instruction for Jurors and Cell Phones Here



Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Stetson Law Review - Award Winner - Professor Ellen Podgor

We had a great time at the Stetson event honoring Professor Ellen Podgor as the 2014 J. Ben Watkins Award Recipient . Thanks to Editorial Board Member Alisa French for the invite. Many thanks also to the Stetson Law Review team - @StetsonLRev @StetsonLaw @StetsonU .


Professor Ellen Podgor nationally recognized blog is here;
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/

Professor Ellen Podgor Bio is here:
http://www.stetson.edu/law/faculty/podgor-ellen-s/

Professor Ellen Podgor wiki Bio is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Podgor

More on the award here:
https://www.facebook.com/stetsonlaw/posts/102669719813633

More on our host here:
https://www.facebook.com/alisa.french.3

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wiretaps in Federal Prosecutions | Florida

An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
Wiretaps in Federal Prosecutions 
A friend at the Federal Defender's Office in Florida just sent us this information on Wiretaps in Federal Prosecution and  provided us with a new Congressional Research Service report entitled "Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping." It is comprehensive and should be useful to anyone with a case in which wiretaps are an issue. Some excerpts are below and a download of the complete document is available below.:

"Unless otherwise provided, Title III/ECPA outlaws wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping; possession of wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping equipment; use or disclosure of information obtained through illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping; and disclosure of information secured through court-ordered wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping, in order to obstruct justice, 18 U.S.C. 2511. Elsewhere, federal law proscribes:
  • unlawful access to stored communications, 18 U.S.C. 2701;
  • unlawful use of a pen register or a trap and trace device, 18 U.S.C. 3121; and
  • abuse of eavesdropping and search authority or unlawful disclosures under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. 1809, 1827."
The report summarizes:

"At the heart of Title III/ECPA lies the prohibition against illegal wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping, 18 U.S.C. 2511(1), that bans:

  • any person from
  • intentionally
  • intercepting, or endeavoring to intercept,
  • wire, oral or electronic communications
  • by using an electronic, mechanical or other device
  • unless the conduct is specifically authorized or expressly not covered, e.g. one of the parties to the conversation has consent to the interception
  • the interception occurs in compliance with a statutorily authorized, (and ordinarily judicially supervised) law enforcement or foreign intelligence gathering interception,
  • the interception occurs as part of providing or regulating communication services,
  • certain radio broadcasts, and in some places, spousal wiretappers."

The complete report is available here,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Debra LaFave - Probation Early Termination Approved by Florida Supreme Court

The too-pretty-for-prison teacher, Debra LaFave was released from probation early by today's ruling in the Florida Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the state attorney could not appeal the trial court's order terminating the probation, even though the no prison plea agreement provided that her probation was not to be terminated early. 

The Florida Supreme Court said:

Early Termination of Probation


"Six years into her ten-year nonprison sentence, LaFave unabashedly sought early termination of her probation in 2011 in direct violation of her plea agreement. She asked the circuit court to terminate her sex offender probation four years early. On October 3, 2011, over objections from both the state attorney and the Department of Corrections [(DOC)], the circuit court granted her motion and terminated her probation as requested. "

"We answer the certified question in the negative and find that the State did not have the right to petition the district court [to appeal the decision] for certiorari review in this case." 

Complete Decision Here: 



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Executive Clemency Initiative - Five Possible Requirements

Executive Clemency Initiative, Clemency, Clemency review, Clemency Law, Clemency Lawyers
Executive Clemency Initiative
Five Possible Requirements
Update:  September 25, 2014 - Attorney General Holder Resigns

Our team has begun organization of resources for expediting the clemency petitions to be filed under the new Executive Clemency Initiative. Two Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyers and a number of other attorneys and paralegals are standing by in offices near the Coleman Federal Prison in Florida.

We believe most inmates will eventually receive some attention. However, our plan is to quickly gather needed information, and expedite the completion of the case file for federal authorities to review. Remember there are Five Possible Requirements and the initiative is limited. 

Five Requirements for Clemency Eligibility


• Are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today; 

• Are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large-scale criminal organizations, gangs, or cartels; 

• Have served at least 10 years of their sentence; 

• Do not have a significant criminal history; 

• Have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and 

• Have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

For More Clemency and Pardon Information Check Here:


  • Pardon | Seal | Expunge | Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer ...

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     Rating: 4.9 - ‎Review by Google+
    A Tampa Bay, Florida resident benefited from a "presidential pardon this week ... Furthermore, "if you are seeking clemency for a state criminal conviction, you ...
  • Video - Clemency Attorney Continues Efforts to Free Federal ...

    www.centrallaw.net/2014/04/video-clemency-attorney-continues.html
     Rating: 4.9 - ‎Review by Google+
    Apr 21, 2014 - Federal Clemency Lawyer http://www.centrallaw.com/practice-areas/tampa-criminal-attorney/clemency-petitions-pardons/ in Tampa, Florida is ...
  • Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer On Call 813-222-2220 ...

    www.centrallaw.net/2011_11_01_archive.html
     Rating: 4.9 - ‎Review by Google+
    Nov 16, 2011 - A Tampa Bay, Florida resident benefited from a "presidential pardon this week ... Furthermore, "if you are seeking clemency for a state criminal ...
  • FOX 13 News Tampa Bay - video feed - Tampa Criminal ...

    www.centrallaw.net/2014_04_01_archive.html
    Apr 1, 2014 - Federal Clemency Lawyer http://www.centrallaw.com/practice-areas/tampa-criminal-attorney/clemency-petitions-pardons/ in Tampa, Florida is ..
  • www.centrallaw.net/2010/05/attorney-general-internal-memo-on.html
     Rating: 4.9 - ‎Review by Google+
    May 19, 2010 - From: Eric H Holder, Jr. Attorney General. Subject: Department Policy on Charging and Sentencing. The reasoned exercise of prosecutorial ...

  • Friday, August 29, 2014

    Lyft on Trial in Tampa, Florida

    Judge or Jury will soon decide: Does a Lyft car meet the definition of taxicab?

    *Lyft Technology on Trial in Tampa* Lyft ride sharing service is under attack by taxicab regulators. With Lyft, rides are arranged by smart phone app, drivers take no money from customers. fares are donations, riders can pay all of fare, part  or none  at all. Today in a Hillsborough County Courtroom, government offered to let a  driver pay  fines, but he refused the offer, opting for the jury trial.

    Brave driver said, “We are not a cab,” he said. “We are not a transportation company. Lyft is a platform and I’m an independent contractor.” More information on the law in Tampa is here.

    Here are a few Legal Definitions

    Definition: “Taxicab” means any motor-driven Vehicle, equipped with a Taximeter, with a Capacity for 9 or less passengers, including the driver, for the transportation of For hire passengers, which Operates within Hillsborough County, but does not include Sight-seeing cars or buses, streetcars, or motor buses Operated pursuant to franchise. Taxicab includes the Taxicab classification of Standard Taxicab and Luxury Taxicab. Unless otherwise indicated, use of the word “Taxicab” within these Rules shall be meant to include “Standard Taxicabs” and “Luxury Taxicabs”, collectively. 

    “Taximeter” means any internally mounted device that records and indicates a rate of fare measured by distance traveled, time traveled, waiting time, or extra passengers which has been inspected and sealed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and which has been calibrated to the approved rates promulgated by the Commission.

    Source: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/6827

    Source: http://tbo.com/news/breaking-news/fight-between-hillsborough-and-ride-sharing-services-goes-up-a-notch-20140828/