Articles Posted in Property Crimes

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Since the beginning of time merchants of services or goods have been quick to toss a patron out of their premises and ask him or her to never come back if said person runs afoul of their rules. It’s common sense for most to know that if you get kicked out of a brick and mortar establishment there is a good chance that you will be “trespassed,” thereby giving you notice that if you come back, you could get arrested. As time passes and technology progresses, the law will have to evolve with it. To “trespass” in the time of our forefathers meant no more than to physically be where they aren’t invited after some form of notice. Back in those days the act of trespassing could upon one’s person, chattel, or physical property. Fast forward to now. With all things tech, a website becomes an interesting new forum for debate on whether or not one can “trespass” on the property of another.

I will preface this blog in that as a low tech criminal lawyer I know about as much about “tech” as I do brain surgery. I do understand that large and common websites like Craigslist can ban an IP range or individual IP address from coming to their site in much the same sense that an establishment can ban an individual or group of individuals from coming to their place of business. In my tiny tech brain I can only imagine a drunken bar patron being kicked out of a big bar in the sky and sent through some kind of multicolored warp tube into never-never land… I digress. So what happens when a person or group that has been trespassed or blocked from a website attempts to come back, using a different or cloaked IP address? As decided in the Craigslist v. 3Taps case, evidently now, at least in the opinion of one Federal District Court Judge, a person who does this runs afoul of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“Act”)! A potential Federal charge? This act is codified at 18 USC 1030. Judge Breyer opines that the Act was violated as applied to the 3Taps case in that 3Taps did intentionally access a computer without authorization and retrieved information from a Craigslist computer that was protected. In rendering his opinion, Judge Breyer compared a website trespass to trespass on private property in saying, “The law of trespass on private property provides a useful, if imperfect analogy. Store owners open their doors to the public, but occasionally find it necessary to ban disruptive individuals from the premises. That trespass law has enforced those bans with criminal penalties has not, in the brick and mortar context, resulted in the doomsday scenarios predicted by 3Taps in the internet context.”
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A man in South Carolina was pushed off his moped and subsequently beaten with his own prosthetic leg Monday afternoon. Joel Parrish, 35, of Myrtle Beach is alleged to have performed this ridiculous and heinous act without any reason being offered or provocation known. Parrish may as well give up on his dream of being Myrtle Beach’s citizen of the year and his chances at earning a key to the city are likely compromised after he inflicted head injuries to the man on the moped. It’s doubtful his partner in the crime, who is alleged to have held down the man on the moped, will be asked to join the Big Brothers, Big Sisters chapter of Myrtle Beach either. Both men are alleged to have pushed the man off of his moped only to punch and kick him while ultimately beating him with his prosthetic leg when it came off in the fracas. According to a police report it is recommended that the particular South Carolina State Attorney’s Office charge Parrish with Assault and Battery of the 2nd Degree.

I’m not a South Carolina lawyer so I have no earthly idea what the gravity of the charges are against Mr. Parrish in his home State. I’ve handled enough cases to know that if you’re accused of this kind of thing in the Bay area you better get a good Tampa criminal attorney retained sooner rather than later. If this type of thing happened in the Tampa area I could see someone being charged with battery or in the alternative possibly aggravated battery and very likely criminal mischief to whatever level.
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If you’ve previously read our blog, you’ll know that it is an effort to provide an interesting read on funny or hot button topics from the perspective of a Tampa criminal lawyer. Our hope is that we can bring some knowledge on the law while also giving a perspective of how a case is viewed from our side of the fence. Today I’ll break from that trend as there is nothing funny about the acts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother. These individuals robbed our Country and one of our finest cities of a sense of security while taking with that the lives and quality of life of innocent bystanders supporting something so pure as the challenge of the Boston Marathon. Those of us that practice Federal criminal law stand before our Judges every month in an effort to introduce them to an individual as opposed to a case number. We squeeze every bit of good in a person onto a sentencing memorandum in the hope that we can shave off a fraction of the person’s sentence. As a general rule, within each of our clients there is some good and it can be argued that though the individual may be before a particular judge on a particular day, the act for which they are there is not the sum total of who the person is. With the freshness of this massacre as it currently stands, it would be tough to make that argument here. Some will demand Tsarnaev’s head on a stake, some will beg for mercy due to his age. Both are entitled to their opinion. This great country and its resolve is to thank for the ability to own your opinion.

As it stands on the date of this blog, Tsarnaev has been charged by criminal complaint in Federal Court. Rest assured a Grand Jury will be empaneled on this case and they will provide an indictment and this case will move forward based on that. As for now, Tsarnaev is charged via complaint with “Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction” under 18 USC 2332(a) and “Malicious Destruction of Property Resulting in Death” under 18 USC 844(i). Someone died as a result of the deeds of these brothers. As with any Federal Case one of the first steps in sentence calculation is to take a look at the Federal Guidelines to get a rough idea as to where the potential sentence may stand. Going in order, the charge of “Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction” is most likely to be guided under Federal Guideline 2M6.1. Immediately because a little boy died, this guideline could call for a cross reference with Guideline 2A1.1 for first degree murder as the death was most definitely caused intentionally or knowingly. The base offense level for that, regardless of criminal history is 43, which equates to life. However, under 2M6.1(c)(1) because a higher offense level could be built using 2M6.1 by taking the base offense level of 42 and adding 4 levels for death, the first degree murder cross reference doesn’t happen. Generically, for Tsarnaev’s use of a weapon of mass destruction, he’s looking at a potential total offense level of 46 which would equate to life. As for the “Malicious Destruction of Property Resulting in Death” the applicable guideline is 2K1.4. Again there calls for a first degree murder cross reference under 2A1.1, this time applicable as that guideline is higher at 43.
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Pennsylvania woman, Jessica Lynn Weitkamp, 28, is alleged to have entered a Wal- Mart in Pennsylvania with no regard of the standard “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign. It is alleged that Ms. Weitkamp entered the Wal-Mart, nude, and casually strolled through the store’s aisles, yelling at interested onlookers and breaking $346 worth of merchandise in the process. We’ve all borne witness to many of nature’s miracles when perusing the inventory at our local Wal-Mart stores. From cutting edge fashion to the latest trends in automotive technology and design, Wal-Mart is a treasure trove of information worthy of the rise of even the most scrutinizing eyebrow. Ms. Weitkamp, if she in fact performed these alleged deeds, simplified what can normally be seen at Wally World and in doing so, ramped up the intensity levels far beyond the norm. Despite her alleged actions likely being completely accepted for those members of the “People of Wal-Mart” society, Officer Friendlies throughout our great nation may not be of the same opinion. Evidently and unfortunately for Jessie Lynn, these Pennsylvania officers did not agree with her artful expression.

In all honesty when I saw this headline I immediately thought she would need a Tampa criminal attorney, as no doubt this had to happen in a nearby village in Florida. While that could generally be a reasonable assumption, this incident is far from here geographically. What if we used our imaginations as if this did occur in Florida? What would Ms. Weitkamp be charged with? Several things.
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Tennessee man Jerimiah Clyde Hartline, 19, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft, driving without a license and hit and run for stealing an 18 wheeler, crashing it, and causing a giant traffic jam in Temecula, California earlier this month. First off, sweet name. Only a guy with a name like this from the hills of the dirty south would have the presence of mind to commandeer a big rig to prevent a zombie attack. Excellent thinking Clyde. No, not really as this has Florida written all over it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… According to the California Highway Patrol, Hartline informed authorities that he stole the truck from a weigh station in Rainbow, California because he was sure zombies were hot on his trail. Further, despite his high speed driving and swerving all over the road, the zombies wouldn’t shake loose eventually causing Mr. Hartline to crash the truck and injuring many. As a result of the zombie attack and subsequent crash, all four lanes of the interstate were closed for several hours while cleanup crews cleared the truck from the road and corralled the two loads of strawberries on board. According to the news report it is “unknown whether Hartline was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Yes, it would be a mystery as to whether Mr. Hartline was sober or slightly influenced by an “extracurricular” substance… Man, I wonder if he was? Time will tell with a potential DUI. As for now, we know he’s getting charged with grand theft. If I were a betting man I’d estimate he will be charged with DUI with serious bodily injury as well.
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A New York man is wanted for stealing ladies undergarments from a New York City apartment building. Elizabeth Santana, a resident of the apartment building first noticed her underwear was missing from her laundry when left unattended. Unable to figure out what happened, Ms. Santana requested and viewed surveillance video from the laundry room. Low and behold her worst fears were true as she saw a young white male sneaking into the laundry room, proceed to open the dryer containing her clothes, and subsequently sneak out with panties in tow. Not surprisingly this was not the first time lady’s undergarments were taken from the same apartment building. Just three months prior there was an initial report of the same thing. Other apartment buildings in the area reported missing underwear as well though it is unknown if the same purveyor of panty is responsible or if he is working with an entire team of panty raiders.

Depending on the amount of underwear stolen and the fanciness of same will determine whether this unknown male could be charged with a felony grand theft or a misdemeanor petit theft. Either way Florida Statute 812.014 is applicable. Because this panty thief has knowingly obtained the property of these ladies with the intent to either deprive them of the property’s use or to appropriate the panties to his own use (weird and gross) he would be guilty of some type of theft crime. If the value of the panties is $300 or more, under subsection (c) he would be facing a third degree felony. If it’s $299.99 or less, he’s still in misdemeanor country if considering the theft only.
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A Louisiana man and woman recently stripped of their parental rights are thought to have kidnapped their own children from the children’s maternal Grandmother early Wednesday. Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife, Sharyn Patricia Hakken are alleged to have broken into the Tampa residence of Patricia Hauser, tied her up, and kidnapped their biological children. Within the past few months the children were sent to live with Hauser after the Hakkens lost their parental rights over the children. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s investigators say Joshua Michael Hakken entered Hauser’s home at 6:30AM Wednesday, proceeded to tie up the children’s’ Grandmother and then fled in Grandma’s 2009 Toyota Camry.

The Tampa criminal attorney that gets this case might as well open up the criminal statute book and proceed to dump it out on his desk. There really doesn’t seem to be much Pops hasn’t done wrong in his kid caper. Burglary? Check. Kidnapping? Check. Grand Theft? Yes sir, we have that too! False Imprisonment shouldn’t be left out and really neither should battery. Again, lets dump this statute book out right here on the desk of Hakken’s selected Tampa criminal lawyer. So how does it all work and fit together? Grab a seat, this may take a while.
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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for CaesarAlt.jpg North Carolina man, Ernesto Rodriguez, recently sparked a Facebook firestorm for posting pictures of his two Pitbulls after tattooing them. Rodriguez, a former Army veteran and owner of Planet Ink tattoos said he tattooed his hounds for identification purposes. Initially Rodriguez claims to have tattooed his female, Duchess, while she was still sedated after having her ears clipped at a vet. Upon the photos being posted, animal control is noted to have come to his home and left without taking immediate action. To that end, Rodriguez posted “Animal control came looked at my beautiful dog and left…. Wow… what a waste of tax payers money… so im still gonna tattoo my dogs whenever i feel like it… good try haters thanks for all the advertisement.” Yes, there are numerous grammatical errors. Evidently that’s how Ernesto rolls. Tattooing dogs and bad English, that’s what Ernesto does!

Ultimately the Stokes County Health Department and Animal Control have elected to investigate Rodriguez despite no charges filed at this time. He has been issued a cease and desist letter in the meantime.

Ask any Tampa criminal attorney what the toughest cases they have to defend are and you’ll likely hear sex crimes and animal cruelty cases. Understandably, both of these types of crimes strike a serious nerve with the general public, thereby making it extremely difficult for a Tampa criminal lawyer to try before a jury. We are all too familiar with the Michael Vick case for dog fighting and subsequent killing of Pitbulls and the general neglect claims where one gets a dog and fails to care for them. This case is odd and depending on how it would be charged in Florida, could be tough for both the Prosecutor and Defense.
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A University of Georgia student is alleged to have broken into an Athens, Georgia woman’s home in order to check her Facebook account. Not only did she go where she wasn’t wanted, she literally “went” where she wasn’t supposed to by peeing on the homeowner’s couch. When the homeowner returned to her home she found the 18 year old female student sitting on her couch using the homeowner’s computer and chatting with a friend, of whom she gave the address of the home. The brilliant burglar ran away before the homeowner could detain her or get her name but in all the commotion left her facebook profile open and available for both the homeowner and police. According to the original story the homeowner was irritated with the intrusion but was more concerned about the fact that the special visitor took a leak all over her couch before bidding her adieu.

Not the best way to begin your college career Peebody… Though this is a Georgia incident, burglary doesn’t vary much in its elements from State to State. At first blush, a burglary would be the desired charge of the State Attorney’s office, yet a good Tampa criminal lawyer could likely get this charged reduced through some diligence were this set of facts to have occurred in our area. In Florida, burglary of this like would be considered burglary of an occupied dwelling because the homeowner came home in the middle of the act. Because this Dawg entered the home of this woman and was not armed and made no assault or battery she could possibly be charged with a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in the clink and a $10,000 fine under Florida Statute 810.02(3)(a). The real bell ringer in this fact pattern is that for a burglary to occur in Florida it must be shown that the burglar intended to enter this dwelling with the intent to commit an offense while in there. Most Tampa criminal lawyers could argue successfully in cases of drunk college kid entry that there was no criminal intent to commit an offense but rather drunken stupidity. If the State tried to argue that her offense was criminal mischief a Tampa criminal attorney could refute that by the fact that when she urinated she did so not only on the couch, but also on herself considering she was sitting in it per the account of the homeowner. It’s highly unlikely she “willfully and maliciously” intended to damage the couch by also soiling herself. Had she squatted in a corner or used a coffee pot, maybe. Not so much when she peed herself. Those are called “accidents” precipitated by booze and bad decisions.
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Spring breaker Chris Brennan, 18, was arrested for resisting arrest without violence and criminal mischief with property damage under $200 in Fort Myers after allegedly smashing bottles at a beach resort at around 2AM earlier this March. After an officer was called to the scene Brennan was placed in the back seat of the Officer’s patrol car, presumably for officer safety, while he questioned the other two lads Brennan was juggling bottles with. Though this offered Officer Friendly a sense of safety it did not do the same for his sandwich, cell phone, and water bottle. After placement of Brennan in the back of the car, Brennan was able to navigate his pee stream to the front of the car and onto the Officer’s personal wares, assuring Brennan’s arrest where it may not have been set in stone prior to the pee. To Brennan’s credit he did warn the officer prior to his actions through his statement, “I will piss in your car!” Next time this Officer will pay attention I’m sure.

The candle does not burn bright with this one. For what it’s worth, had Brennan chosen not to marinate the Officer’s sandwich against his will he could have had a shot at a Notice to Appear and moved on without being hauled to the big house. That doesn’t make for a good story though… He now must play the hand he’s dealt and that happens to be two misdemeanors. The more serious, though less interesting, of the two crimes is the resisting arrest without violence charge. This is pretty self explanatory in that the State must show that Brennan resisted, opposed, or obstructed this officer while the officer is in the execution of his legal duty and in doing so, did not use violence. Oddly, this Tampa criminal lawyer is questioning whether this particular charge can be proven if based on the potty facts. Brennan was already detained and the simple act of peeing on a sandwich doesn’t seem to offer any resistance, opposition, or obstruction to an officer. I think many Tampa criminal attorneys would find this situation kind of interesting. There may be more to this.
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