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Florida Governor Expected to Sign Bill Making It Difficult for Ex-Felons to Vote

By The Baez Law Firm |

In May, Florida governor Ron DeSantis indicated that he would sign a bill that requires all ex -felons in the state to first to pay all financial obligations before they have their right to vote restored under Amendment 4, which was passed by an overwhelming number of Floridians last year. Critics of the bill… Read More »

DefRights

Florida Misses Opportunity to Take Meaningful Steps Towards Criminal Justice Reform

By The Baez Law Firm |

In May, unfortunately, Florida missed out on a huge opportunity to enact significant criminal justice reform. Instead of passing Senate Bill 642–which would have reversed the mass incarceration policies that began throughout the state in the mid-1980s as a result of the state legislature imposing minimum mandatory sentencing for nonviolent drug crimes–unfortunately, the state… Read More »

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New Research Indicates That Only Two Percent of Those Charged with Federal Crimes Go to Court, And Most Are Convicted

By The Baez Law Firm |

According to the data recently collected by the federal judiciary and analyzed by the Pew Research Center, trials and acquittals are becoming more and more rare when it comes to federal criminal charges. Specifically, during the 2018 fiscal year, close to 80,000 people were defendants in federal cases, and only two percent of them… Read More »

FlagGavel

US Commission On Civil Rights Calls On Lawmakers to Remove Permanent Punishments for Those with Criminal Convictions

By The Baez Law Firm |

In mid-June, the US commission on civil rights called on Congress to eliminate the “invisible punishments” embedded in our many laws and regulations that prevent those with criminal convictions from re-integrating into society. According to statistics, more than 600,000 people are returning to communities from prisons every year, and face significant barriers to obtaining… Read More »

Justice5

The Use of AI in The Criminal Justice System Should Alarm All of Us

By The Baez Law Firm |

Many people likely do not know about a phenomenon that is known as criminal sentencing AI, whereby an algorithm is used in the criminal justice system to estimate the likelihood of a criminal defendant committing future crime. In a number of cases, reports that are based on these algorithms are used and relied on… Read More »

CellAccident

Florida Appeals Court Sides with Defendant in Finding That He Does Not Need to Turn Over Phone’s Passcode in Response to Warrant

By The Baez Law Firm |

In a groundbreaking court case decision out of the Florida appeals court, the court recently sided with a criminal defendant in deciding that he did not have to turn over his cell phone passcode to police. The decision came out of the 1st District Court of Appeal in Alachua County in a robbery case… Read More »

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Voting Rights Updates in Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

On June 27, the US Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being included in the 2020 census, easing Florida’s concerns about immigrants potentially being undercounted, which would have huge civil rights repercussions, as the census is linked to important federal resources and congressional representation. The majority opinion was based on the US Department… Read More »

Florida Decriminalizes Needle Exchanges

By The Baez Law Firm |

On June 26, Florida lawmakers and governor Ron DeSantis legalized (decriminalized) the establishment of syringe exchanges throughout the state, which will allow a number of counties to reduce disease and help those otherwise targeted for drug crime charges to get the care that they need. Specifically, syringe exchanges have been listed as helping to… Read More »

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How You Can Exercise Your Voting Rights with A Felony Record in Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

While Florida voters passed amendment 4 last year, finally restoring voting rights to ex-felons in Florida, a bill passed by lawmakers and which is expected to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis, has added a whole new layer of complications and hurdles to those individuals be obtaining the civil right to vote. Specifically,… Read More »

CrimDef4

Florida Criminalizes Owning & Distributing “Childlike Sex Dolls”

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late May, Florida made it illegal (i.e. a second- or third-degree felony) to own (sell, distribute, etc.) a “childlike sex doll.” Specifically, the law prohibits someone from “knowingly having in his or her possession custody or control an obscene childlike sex doll” under the justification that owning these dolls encourages child predators. The… Read More »

FlagGavel

Court of Appeals Makes Major Decision Regarding Products Liability & The Role of Companies Like Amazon

By The Baez Law Firm |

The recent products liability decision involving Amazon and its place in the “chain of distribution” arguably sends a message to designers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, and more. Specifically, the question before the court was whether the company that simply sells the product and has no other involvement in the creation or advertising of… Read More »

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Federal Appeals Court Rules That Government Must “Promptly” Reassess Drug Crime Status of Marijuana

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late May, a federal appeals court reinstated a drug crimes case against the federal government concerning the Schedule I status of marijuana. Plaintiffs in the case argue that marijuana’s current Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act is placing patients’ health at risk and creating economic inequities. They also argue that the… Read More »

Courtroom

The Decision to Criminally Prosecute Florida Law Enforcement Officers Who Fail to Take Action During School Shootings

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida’s decision to criminally prosecute law-enforcement officer Scott Peterson who failed to take action during a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school has been controversial from the start. He is one of (or the) only law enforcement officers to be criminally prosecuted for felony child neglect for this oversight. On June 6,… Read More »

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Florida Judges Will Soon Weight Whether State Of Florida’s Restrictions On Localities With Respect To Gun Laws Violates Their Rights

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida circuit judges will soon hear arguments concerning the constitutionality of state law that imposes significant penalties on local officials when it comes to gun regulations. The case is based on Florida’s laws that bar localities from passing regulations that are stricter than what the legislature passes in terms of state fire laws. The… Read More »

LadyJustice2

Florida April 2019 Legislative Update: Wireless Devices In Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

Below, we discuss two important legislative updates in Florida: One that involves interfering with Amendment 4 by forcing ex-felons to pay fees before having their voting rights restored, and the other which criminalizes certain activities involving wireless devices in certain areas of Florida. House Passes Legislation Effectively Disenfranchising Ex-Felons in Spite of Amendment 4… Read More »

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U.S. Supreme Court Petitioned to Force Prosecutors to Turn Over Evidence of Innocence

By The Baez Law Firm |

The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned to overturn a federal appellate court decision regarding the constitutionality of prosecutors failing to inform criminal defendants of evidence of innocence before they engage in collecting a guilty plea. Conversely, on May 1, attorneys for the city of Brownsville, urged the Supreme Court to leave the current… Read More »

FedCrime

Decriminalizing Marijuana at The Federal Level

By The Baez Law Firm |

Even though almost a dozen states have already legalized marijuana, according to the latest FBI crime statistics, arrests are increasing in connection with marijuana offenses. Still, just as Florida is taking steps to decriminalize marijuana (although only for medical use), Congress is also taking steps to try and ensure that its use is no… Read More »

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Florida’s Sex Crime Case Against Kraft & Others Falls Apart Due to Police Failing to Properly Conduct Surveillance So as to Protect Privacy Rights

By The Baez Law Firm |

The trial involving Florida bringing a number of sex crime charges against Robert Kraft and others in connection with several massage parlors hit a wall on May 13, when the judge found that hundreds of hours of video surveillance police had gathered and based the case on were inadmissible in court because that surveillance… Read More »

GavelBooks

Time for Additional Criminal Justice Reform

By The Baez Law Firm |

There is no question that our criminal justice system is based on the concept of retributive justice, with the goal being to punish people and seek vengeance under the theory that this will help them act correctly in the future. In other words, it is based on the system harming that individual if they… Read More »

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Florida’s Outdated Felony Theft Charges Can Ruin Lives for Crimes as Small as Stealing a Phone

By The Baez Law Firm |

The felony theft charge threshold has been far too low in Florida for far too long: To date, theft charges become felonies if the value of what of stolen is it least $300, and this has not changed since 1986. In other words, in Florida, stealing a phone, for example, can literally ruin your… Read More »

FedCrime

It’s Time for Florida to Stop Trying Juveniles as Adults for Minor Crimes

By The Baez Law Firm |

We previously discussed widespread corruption and abuse in the Florida juvenile justice system. Florida leads the nation in charging children and teens as adults, where three-quarters of these children are African-American or Hispanic. Between 2016-2018, the number of children transferred to the adult system was between 900 and more than 1,000, each year. Bill… Read More »

Justice5

Florida Criminal Justice Reform Bill Gains Traction, But House Version Is Missing Key Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Reductions

By The Baez Law Firm |

In April, the Florida House finally filed a long awaited response to a criminal justice bill filed by State Senator Jeff Brandes that would adjust mandatory minimum sentencing and increase the focus of Florida prisons on the rehabilitation of inmates. Fortunately, both the right and left have praised the criminal justice bill; citing a… Read More »

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Color Due to Discriminatory, Unconstitutional Legislation Introduced

By The Baez Law Firm |

On April 8, Florida civil rights advocates issued a travel advisory for people of color and immigrants, urging them to use caution when traveling in Florida due to two proposed bills; Senate Bill 168 (“SB 168”) and House Bill 527 (“HB 527”). According to advocates, if these bills are passed into law, certain individuals… Read More »

CrimLaw6

Florida House Considers Bill Making Certain Abortion Provider Activities a Third-Degree Felony

By The Baez Law Firm |

On April 17, the Florida House considered legislation requiring minors seeking an abortion to first obtain parental consent. If it passes and is signed into law, any doctors or other healthcare providers involved in providing abortions to minors would face severe criminal consequences. While Florida already has a parental notification requirement for minors when… Read More »

Defense4

Florida Advocates, Once Again, Seek to Expand What Is Punished as A Hate Crime

By The Baez Law Firm |

A number of Florida advocates and legislators are, once again, pushing to expand the coverage of what is considered (and thus punished as) a hate crime here in Florida. Although this is not the first time that legislators in Florida have sought to expand the state hate crime law, these efforts do appear to… Read More »

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