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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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When Can You Raise an Entrapment Defense to a Criminal Charge?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The police often use undercover officers to catch criminals “in the act.” Consider a scenario where a suspect is accused of selling illegal drugs to someone who turns out to be an undercover officer. Can the suspect then argue they were a victim of police “entrapment”? Entrapment is a legal term that applies when… Read More »

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Understanding the Florida Clemency Process

By The Baez Law Firm |

Clemency is a process that allows the chief executive officer of a government to set aside a resident’s criminal conviction or penalty. Clemency is sometimes referred to as a “pardon,” although, at least as it applies to Florida law, a pardon is just one type of clemency. The Florida Constitution actually recognizes the following… Read More »

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Florida Appeals Court Rejects “Bump Stock” Lawsuit

By The Baez Law Firm |

Following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Florida legislature banned individuals from buying or possessing “bump-fire stocks.” These are devices that make it possible to convert semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons by altering the rate of fire. The bump-fire stock ban took effect in March 2018. The… Read More »

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Does the Fourth Amendment Apply to Private Individuals?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. In broad terms, this means that an agent of the government cannot search or seize your property without either first obtaining your consent or a warrant from a judge. Any evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible… Read More »

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How the Florida 10-20-Life Law Works in Criminal Cases

By The Baez Law Firm |

Politicians are eager to show they are “tough on crime” by passing harsh minimum sentencing laws. One famous example here in Florida is the so-called 10-20-Life law. Spearheaded by former Gov. Jeb Bush, this is a minimum sentencing law that requires a judge to impose minimum sentences of 10 years, 20 years, or life… Read More »

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Lost Transcript Leads to New Hearing for Defendant in Florida Drug Case

By The Baez Law Firm |

“The dog ate my homework” is a classic excuse that no teacher would accept. Similarly, when a trial court loses the transcript of a criminal case, an appellate court is not going accept that either. A transcript provides an official record for the appellate court to review. Without such a record, it is impossible… Read More »

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How Does Restitution Work in a Florida Criminal Case?

By The Baez Law Firm |

If you are convicted of a crime in Florida, you may be required to pay restitution to your victims. This is separate from any jail time or probation you may be required to serve. Florida law separately permits the judge to order restitution for any “damage or loss caused directly or indirectly by the… Read More »

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Can the Government Deport a Legal Immigrant for a Vehicular Homicide Conviction?

By The Baez Law Firm |

A criminal conviction can place your immigration status in jeopardy. Even if you have entered the United States lawfully, federal law allows the government to deport you if you are convicted of “two or more crimes of moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct.” This includes both federal and… Read More »

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Florida Appeals Court Orders New Trial in Sexual Battery Case After Judge Excludes Key Witness Testimony

By The Baez Law Firm |

In any criminal trial, the defendant has a constitutional right to “confront” the witnesses against them. This includes not just the right to cross-examine one’s accuser, but also to present evidence that may call into question the accuser’s motives, or offer the jury an alternative explanation for what transpired. While judges have the discretion… Read More »

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Florida Case & All Criminal Charges Dropped Against Robert Kraft

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late September, Florida prosecutors officially dropped all criminal charges of solicited prostitution against Robert Kraft in connection with the case brought against him last year, alleging that he engaged in these acts at the Orchids of Asia Day spa. The case fell apart earlier in August when the Florida appeals court upheld the… Read More »

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11th Circuit Rules That All Ex-Felons Must Pay Fines Before Voting, But with Caveats

By The Baez Law Firm |

In a huge blow to civil rights, in September, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle’s previous decision that would have restored voting rights to most former felons here in Florida, regardless of whether they still had unpaid court fees or fines. Specifically, the 11th Circuit ruled that the… Read More »

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US Supreme Court to Hear Crucial Free Speech Case, Where Student Was Charged for Speaking About His Religion

By The Baez Law Firm |

Free speech is a crucial First Amendment right that police and government frequently infringe upon when they choose to criminalize or otherwise target our right to express our opinions without censorship or restraint. This can often be seen when protesters are arrested for disorderly conduct or unlawful assembly, or even assault, battery, or hate… Read More »

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Florida Appeals Court Upholds Decision That Videos Recording Robert Kraft Violated Fourth Amendment Protections

By The Baez Law Firm |

In a salient case for Fourth Amendment constitutional rights, in August, a Florida appeals court unanimously upheld a district court ruling that the police violated the rights of the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others last year when they secretly set up ongoing recordings in a massage parlor in order to capture… Read More »

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Murder Charges Over Stillbirth Raise Concerns Everywhere

By The Baez Law Firm |

A current prosecution in the state of California could set a dangerous precedent around the country in terms of criminalizing choices women make while pregnant, including here in Florida, where there is also a state law on fetal homicide. The case involves a defendant, Chelsea Becker, who is being charged with murder after her… Read More »

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How The First Step Act Has Failed Many Serving Decades for Nonviolent Drug Crimes

By The Baez Law Firm |

When the First Step Act was signed into law, there were high hopes that it would institute some real criminal justice reform that included allowing for those who had been unfairly punished with especially lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent crack cocaine charges, including for first time offenders, to petition to have their sentences reduced…. Read More »

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A Closer Look at The Constitutionality of Florida COVID-19 Arrests and Charges

By The Baez Law Firm |

There have been a number of serious criminal allegations made by both federal and state authorities in connection with COVID-19 around the country, including here in Florida. From charging individuals who coughed on groceries with threats to use biological agents and felony terrorism, to accusing business owners who sell face masks with violating the… Read More »

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US Government Rushes to Execute First Prisoners in Almost Two Decades in Spite of Serious Constitutional Concerns

By The Baez Law Firm |

After almost two decades, the federal government executed its first death row prisoners in July when it put Daniel Lee Lewis and Wesley Purkey to death. In doing so, the Department of Justice took the irregular act of seeking emergency orders from the US Supreme Court to rush through two very controversial executions, where… Read More »

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Jose Baez Wins New Trial & Release for Charlie Ely, Who Was Wrongly Accused & Convicted of Murder in 2011

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late June, Charlie Ely, one of the defendants who was accused and convicted of murdering Seath Jackson in Marion County, Florida in 2011, was released after the court found that she received ineffective counsel and was denied due process during her original trial and appeal. Although Ely entered a 10-year plea for a… Read More »

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Experts Hypothesize That Federal Judges May Rethink Sentencing in The Future After Dismaying Experiences with Bureau of Prisons During Pandemic

By The Baez Law Firm |

Experts have speculated that federal judges having to deal with the Federal Bureau of Prisons up close may permanently affect how they approach sentencing in the future, and while judges have limited control over the release of inmates, they have significant discretion when it comes to the length of incarceration. It will largely be… Read More »

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Florida Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Decriminalizing Recreational Marijuana & The State’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Scheme On Same Day

By The Baez Law Firm |

On May 6, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments about proposed constitutional amendments that would legalize (i.e. decriminalize) recreational marijuana here in Florida. As it is currently drafted, the amendment would allow adults 21 years or older to display, possess, purchase, transport, and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for… Read More »

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Fifth Circuit Dismisses Charges Brought Against Florida Man in Stand Your Ground Deputy Shooting Case

By The Baez Law Firm |

In April, an important Florida ‘stand your ground’ case involving a defendant accused of shooting a sheriff’s deputy during an arrest that took place in front of his house several years ago was decided by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court dismissed the charges and held that the defendant never should have… Read More »

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How The Coronavirus Will Affect the Criminal Justice System & Defendants’ Rights

By The Baez Law Firm |

There is no question that the coronavirus has completely changed criminal charges and our criminal justice system, for that matter, from Florida state attorneys calling for the release of inmates to avoid the virus spreading, to Florida prisons now being closed to new inmates due to threats posed by the virus, to criminal charges… Read More »

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New Study Finds That Psychological Tests Used in Criminal Trials May Be “Junk Science”

By The Baez Law Firm |

A new study revealed that unreliable IQ and psychological tests are leading to junk forensic science being used as evidence in criminal trials, and this is ultimately influencing juries and judges to make life-and-death decisions for criminal defendants. Specifically, one-third of psychological tests used in recent court cases were never reviewed in prominent manuals… Read More »

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Florida Approves $2 Million in Compensation for Man Wrongfully Convicted of Crime in 1976

By The Baez Law Firm |

In February, the Florida Attorney General’s Office approved a $2 million settlement claim for a man who was wrongfully convicted over 40 years ago. This decision was announced three weeks after the Department of Legal Affairs denied his request for compensation on the grounds that new evidence indicating that someone else could have been… Read More »

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Florida Lawmakers Propose Taking a New Look at Drug Crime Sentencing & Compensating More Individuals Who Are Wrongfully Convicted

By The Baez Law Firm |

In January, Florida made headway on important criminal justice legislation that would reduce the number of individuals convicted of low-level drug crimes and expand the ability for those wrongfully convicted to apply to receive compensation from the state. Below, we discuss how these measures would affect criminal defense cases and the rights of those… Read More »

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