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cuffs-jumpstory-download20201011-205225-300x190If you’re a sports fan, how many times have you watched your team lose to a worse team?  Think about it.  The best team lost the game.  It happens all the time.  Sure, we assume that the best team always wins–but that’s not how the world works.  There is an element of chance involved.

There are now great statistics on this for poker players.  With so much poker being played online, the poker computers that host the matches can actually see whether or not the best hand wins.

So, how often does the best hand win?

jumpstory-download20200923-124937-300x200What I’m listening to right now: When The World Was Round, Ian Hunter.  The lyric that grabs me every time is “there’s too much information but not enough to go on”.

Too much.

Too much stimulus.  What do we do with all this cheap, ever-flowing stimulus?  How many people do you hang out with who don’t look at their phone while you’re together?  Is all this stimulus affecting our brains somehow?

Often, our visual cortexes are getting so much stimulus that coming off of it may manifest withdrawal symptoms like a drug addict detoxing.

Hopefully, we can learn ways to maximize the time between a stimulus and our response to it.  As a side note, some neuroscientists have seen a response in our brains to a stimulus–before the stimulus is presented.  Spooky, and a story for another day.

In a half-hearted effort to segue here into the law, this highly technical article should serve as a break from your day of high stimulus.  Actually, I get really excited over technicalities like today’s real-life case of Donofrio v. State, 292 So. 3d 510 (Fla. 2d DCA 2020). Continue Reading

jumpstory-download20200917-202456-scaled-e1600374351207-300x270Quote of the Day: “What I recommend you to do is to notice that we do not have any assurance that our lives will go on indefinitely.  I have just said that change comes suddenly and unexpectedly, and so does death.  What do you think we can do about it?”  Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

For you folks out there with a “business purposes only” license, did anyone ever explain what the heck those three words mean?

If you read the statute, 322.271, it is pretty vague, but here it is:

  1. A driving privilege restricted to “business purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.
  2. A driving privilege restricted to “employment purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work and any necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.

So, let’s say you have a business purposes only license.  Can you drive to the grocery store?  Can you drive to the gym to work out?  Can you take your kids to school?  Would getting dinner at a Burger King drive-thru violate a business purposes only license? Continue Reading

jumpstory-download20200917-173915-200x300These days, lots of court hearings are done virtually.  Virtual court comes in several flavors, you can either appear by video conference on an app like MS Teams, or you can appear by phone.

Some virtual hearings are video only, others permit phone calls.  How a judge wants you to appear for court will depend on the type of hearing involved.  If the hearing is just a pretrial, for example, some judges will permit everyone to appear telephonically.

If you’re going to enter a plea virtually, most judges will not allow your client to appear by phone.  Many judges want defendants to appear on the screen, visually, for a plea.  And, there’s a minority of judges out there that still won’t allow for any sort of virtual plea–they want the defendant physically in the courthouse.

don-julios-e1598486690892-300x124This may come as a shock to some of you, or sound like a bit of shameless self-promotion–but as a criminal defense attorney, I solve problems. Dig deeper into most legal problems, and you’ll find a few addiction issues and mental health issues.

The question that keeps coming up is: do you want to get better, or do you want to feel better?

When it comes to solving addition problems or mental health problems, feeling better is always a good thing.  It doesn’t last. The hard work comes in trying to get better, and this takes time. Unfortunately, I’ve had clients in counseling hoping to fix their underlying issues, only to discover that these counselors are more interested in making my clients feel better than they are in making them get better.

Anyway, most of our resisting an officer charges, and most of our domestic violence cases begin with a somewhat vague call to 911.  The 911 caller has no idea what’s going on, except that they can see and hear a “disturbance.”  And, that’s what happened in our real-life case for today.   In Brown v. Statethe police were called to a motel due to a disturbance.  2020 Fla.App. LEXIS 9420 (Fla. 2d DCA 2020). Continue Reading

IMG_0179-e1519940395141-300x142It’s pretty rare that you get a chance to meet your heroes.  I haven’t.  But years ago, when I was playing in bands, our band manager Sarah met the lead singer of our favorite band.

I couldn’t wait to hear from Sarah about her encounter, she actually interviewed him.

Needless to say, even though his music was brilliant–the man himself was severely lacking.  Sarah was deflated and she learned the hard way the old cliche ‘never meet your heroes’.  Part of this cliche is rooted in the fact that a person’s genius in one area of life doesn’t mean that the person is great in all areas of their life.  We all know that a great actor rarely has any sort of superior wisdom over the bum on the street.  As Pat Sajak noted, “Trust me, one’s view of the world isn’t any clearer from the back seat of a limo.”

Now, let’s get to some legal stuff.  My apologies for the rough segue.

If you’re accused of possession of a controlled substance, there are only two ways that you can be convicted of this crime: First, the state may prove that you “actually” possessed the drug.

Meaning, the drugs were in your hand.  Or, the drugs were in your pocket, sock, bra, anywhere on your person. Continue Reading

cotton-swabs-jumpstory-300x200Sometimes, too much agreement makes me wonder.

If you’ve seen as many witnesses testify as I have, when you see their stories miraculously line up so neatly, it makes you wonder.

Do you believe them more because there are 9 witnesses, versus 5?  Two witnesses versus one?

Now, just because witness stories line up perfectly doesn’t mean these witnesses are lying.  I’m just questioning their accuracy.  Every time the prosecutor calls another witness that agrees with the one before, surely the case for my client is getting worse, right?

Well, agreement isn’t always a good thing.

Back in the day, under Jewish law, a capital crime required 23 judges. If every judge in a case found the defendant guilty, the suspect was deemed innocent.  Free to go.

This legal concept is known as the Paradox of Consensus.  Basically, too much agreement is a red flag that there may be a problem with the process or system generating the result.

I’ve been defending criminal cases for over 27 years, so I’ve had to stand up and say “Objection Your Honor, Cummulative” when the state calls the hundredth witness to say the same thing the other 99 witnesses said.  Prosecutors want to call twenty witnesses to say the exact same thing, figuring that with each additional conforming bit of testimony–the chances of them all being wrong would be pretty slim, right? Continue Reading

question-mark-231x300Are our courts just paying lip service to alleged victims?

As of January 8th of this year, we Floridians enacted Marsy’s Law, which requires our court system to keep alleged victims informed.  It gives a voice to victims.

But sometimes, nobody listens.

And that’s the case we have today.  An alleged victim that was utterly ignored by the prosecutor, by the judge, by the jury, and eventually–even the appellate judges ignored her.

In the recent case of Daniels v. State, Daniels was convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm. 45 Fla. L. Weekly D 1380 (Fla. 1st DCA 2020).  The facts brought out at the trial were pretty similar to many, “he said, she said” cases.

We’ve seen this movie a thousand times.  A couple gets into a heated argument.  Things were said in the heat of the moment that, upon sober reflection, may have not been entirely accurate.  Later, nobody believes the alleged victim lied the first time, they think she is lying the second time.

Where does the truth lie?  Well, we don’t have to decide that.  This is about proof beyond every single reasonable doubt.  If the alleged victim claims she lied–that should constitute instant reasonable doubt.  Case closed. Continue Reading

weed-marijuana-300x200Remember those scratch n sniff stickers growing up?  It seems weird that, somehow, you can put the smell of just about anything onto a sticker.  Fruity smells are pretty popular: orange, grape, apple, strawberries. These stickers have evolved since I was a kid, and if you go on Amazon as much as I do (come on, you know you do), you’ll find scent stickers for popcorn, avocado, and yes, animal smells.  Even unicorns.  Hey, why not? My guess is that unicorns smell like a rainbow.

Now, just because something “smells like” an apple, or a bunny rabbit, doesn’t actually mean that there is an apple somehow engrained upon a sticker.  I hate to break it to you, but your nose can be fooled.  Your nose can lead you to false conclusions.

I remember growing up in St. Louis and at about age 15, I went to my first arena concert.  It was at the “Checkerdome” (destroyed decades ago, but fond memories linger), and the band was Loverboy.

As I would come to learn, Checkerdome concerts were like a bubble of fairly lax marijuana laws in the same way that Indian reservations host more gambling options than other places.  At the beginning of the show, as soon as the lights went out, half the place lit up.  There was so much marijuana smoked in that building that even the folks not smoking weed would probably test positive for the next 30 days.  So, when my dad picked me up from the show–he was pissed.

“Son, do you want to tell me something?”

“No dad, it was an awesome concert.  They had these lasers, it was great.”

“Son, you were smoking weed, weren’t you?”   I wasn’t.  Not technically.  But as I soon realized, every inch of me smelled like it.  I have a married friend whose wife uses a similar test to smell for evidence of cheating, but that’s a story for another day.

Supposedly, law enforcement officers have better scent detection than the rest of us, but the conclusions they draw from their sniffs may not be as reliable as they once were.  There are legal consequences to an officer detecting an odor of cannabis.  If an officer smells the odor of marijuana coming from your car, everything & everyone in your vehicle can be searched.

The reason for this is that the odor of cannabis supposedly provides an officer probable cause that something illegal is afoot.  Probable cause is a squishy subject, one that entire seminars and books are devoted to (well, maybe not an entire book, but several chapters).  When we say that an officer has “probable cause,” we mean that the officer reasonably believes there is “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983). Continue Reading

jail-e1589564822154-225x300If you’ve got to do a bit of time in jail, then it is essential to squeeze out every last drop of credit time served that is humanly possible.

And, if you find yourself in that unfortunate position of having to await transport from another state’s jail back to Florida you may be wondering, is any of that time in a “foreign jail” going to count?

Well, that depends.

In the recent case of Chimale v. StateChimale filed a motion to get an additional 97 days of additional foreign jail credit for time spent in an Argentina jail awaiting transport back to Florida.  2020 Fla. App. Lexis 5109 (Fla. 1st DCA 2020).  Argentina wasn’t holding him on any other charge, so most folks would assume that because the Florida case was the only reason he was being held–Chimale was entitled to that time served.  But, that’s not the law, and his request for that credit time served was denied.  Here’s why. Continue Reading