Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

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Video of former Tampa Police Captain Curtis Reeves, Jr. shooting and killing local man Chad Oulson will be viewed in open Court according to Pasco County Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa. Reeves Jr. has been charged with second-degree murder for his actions. Several media outlets have requested footage of the video. Pasco County Prosecutors sought a Judicial order prior to turning over footage of the alleged second degree murder citing Florida Statute 406.136, a statute that makes it a third degree felony to turn over footage of a “killing of a person” to a third party not enumerated within the statute. The Statute was created to protect the families of victims from further emotional damage.

In this instance, the Florida statute’s restrictions tend to conflict with Section 21 of Florida’s Constitution. Section 21 states, “[t]he courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury, and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.” This Florida Constitution clause is in accord with the Sixth Amendment of the United States’ dictate that a defendant is entitled to a “public trial by an impartial jury.” Traditionally this clause has been interpreted to allow for spectators to observe Court proceedings unless the excess publicity would serve to undermine the defendant’s right to due process.” Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1966).
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19-year-old Canadian pop star Justin Bieber was arrested early this morning by Miami Beach police for allegedly driving with an expired driver’s license, DUI, and resisting arrest without violence, all misdemeanors. According to Officer Medina’s Complaint/Arrest affidavit Bieber was observed in a yellow Lamborghini racing or at least “start a contest of speed (drag racing) from a start” with an accompanying red Lamborghini. Officer Medina claims two large black SUVs were following the Lamborghinis in an effort to block off traffic to facilitate the race. Upon detainer Bieber is said to have questioned why he was stopped while emanating an odor of alcohol, was slow and deliberate in his movements and had bloodshot eyes. After becoming rather nasty with responding officers Bieber is alleged to have resisted the investigation leading to his arrest. In spite of his arrest Bieber is said to have advised that he was not drunk and that he was coming back from recording music at a studio. Officers were not “beliebers” and arrested the pop prince anyway.

I’m not a fan of Justin Bieber. I don’t know what he sings but even if I did I don’t think my taste in music is the same as my 6 year old niece’s or that of a 15 year old high school sophomore’s. I’m sure he’s great in his own right and if he wants to gift me a few million who am I to be rude and say no? All that said, I’d love to defend him on his recent snafu as this case may present some issues to huff and puff over. Will the huffing and puffing blow the case down? Probably not but it could provide leverage to free The Biebs on lesser charges. Lets start with the resisting arrest without violence charge.
Officer Medina claims in his Complaint/Arrest Affidavit that Bieber was pulled over for “drag racing with the other Lamborghini.” In other words, his reasoning for detaining “The Biebs” was reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed. Upon detainer Officer Medina asked the Canadian sensation to step out of his car and allow for a safety pat down. Officer Medina tried to effect this brief search for weapons and contraband and Bieber bucked, leading to his pulling his arms away after Officer Medina elected to cuff Bieber, likely more so for being a smartass than anything else.

In Florida to support a finding of guilt for the offense of resisting arrest without violence, “the state must show: (1) the officer was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty; and (2) the action by the defendant constituted obstruction or resistance of that lawful duty.” See S.G.K. v. State, 657 So.2d 1246, 1247 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). See also Jay v. State, 731 So.2d 774, 775 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). In this case the State would argue that the Officer was engaged in a legal duty of his racing investigation and Bieber wouldn’t submit to a brief pat down. J-Beebs then pulled his arms away when the pretty bracelets came out. It’s not necessary that the underlying criminal activity providing the basis for the arrest result in a charge or conviction; it is only necessary that the officer has a founded suspicion of criminal activity to make the detention. See State v. Dwyer, 317 So.2d 149, 150 (Fla. 2d DCA 1975). In other words, the “[f]acts constituting probable cause [for an arrest] need not meet the standard of conclusiveness and probability required to support a conviction.” See Seago v. State, 768 So.2d 498, 500 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000). Officer Medina had reasonable suspicion to investigate the racing charge. As he was doing so, Bieba Baby resisted.
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Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston finds himself in both a National Title race and also subject to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a Florida State University student in December of 2012. Since this story broke it has been at the forefront of the college football world and has consumed the minds of many Florida State fans. With attention, rumors and allegations are bred, some conceivable, others absurd. The outcome will shake out how it may and at the end of the day, the truth must be found so justice is served. With what is known as of the time of writing this blog, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to make a filing decision. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine charges being filed.

Everyone that knows me, knows well that I am a Florida State Alum and a huge Florida State football fan. My Saturdays revolve around it, plain and simple. I love my Noles to a fault and I’m a cranky fan. I get made fun of for living and dying on every play and like the Chicago Bear superfans I have had numerous tiny heart attacks caused by my team. No doubt I’m at a baker’s dozen by now. That being said, before you start barking that this blog will be biased, even if Mr. Winston were a Gator or Hurricane, my opinion on this investigation would be the same. Considering the evidence known at the time of this blog (This is important folks. I’m writing based on what’s known at the time of posting this blog) it doesn’t seem to me there is a case against Mr. Winston for criminal sexual assault.

At the time of this blog there is nothing more than an allegation that Jameis Winston sexually assaulted a young woman in Tallahassee. The journey from allegation to proof beyond and to the exclusion of any and all reasonable doubt is long. State attorney Willie Meggs has said, and he’s correct, that there must be a “reasonable likelihood of conviction” to bring a criminal charge. In spite of the fact that Winston’s DNA was found on the property of the alleged victim, more is needed to show that a sexual battery occurred. Necessarily under FS 794.011(5), Florida’s sexual battery statute as it would apply to this case, there has to be some showing that there was no valid consent. As a general rule, proof of no consent is offered by showing that a rape kit was performed and that there is medical opinion of injury to the victim, amongst other items of evidence. If this exists it could be damning for Winston. His DNA, coupled with medical opinion that the alleged victim’s body was injured would be a mountain to overcome for the even the best criminal attorney. Conversely, if the victim chose not to seek medical attention or if a medical evaluation reflected no signs of injury, this would benefit Winston. If an eyewitness saw the sex act this would be relevant for either side, depending on the observations. Was there a sexual relationship between the parties before and after the alleged incident and what was the nature of that relationship? If the answer is yes, and that relationship continued after the alleged act, this fact would help Winston as it could be argued that no one who was actually assaulted would go back to the person that victimized him or her. Following with the idea of a relationship between the two, are there pictures of them together after the alleged incident? If so, this damages the State’s case.
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Tampa man, Darrell Strong was charged with discharging a firearm in public, aggravated assault with a firearm and burglary for the purpose of a battery after firing at another man in the parking lot of the Tampa Home Depot located on Dale Mabry Highway. According to police reports, Raymond Lindstrom of New Port Richey was leaving the parking lot of the Home Depot and drove too closely to Strong’s wife’s vehicle, making it difficult to pass safely. As Lindstrom and Strong’s wife passed, a verbal altercation occurred through each of their windows prompting the intervention by Darrell Strong. Darrell Strong and his friend John Christian confronted Lindstrom, who remained in his vehicle. An argument escalated and eventually a fight broke out as Lindstrom was still in the driver’s seat. Lindstrom ultimately drew his concealed firearm leading to Strong and Christian attempting to take it from him. Strong and Christian then ran to their vehicles to retrieve a firearm as Lindstrom attempted to leave the parking lot but had to drive back by the two men due to Lindstrom’s lane dead ending. As Lindstrom drove back by the two men, Strong fired two shots at Lindstrom. Police estimated approximately 12 people were between Strong and Lindstrom when the shots were fired.
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Certain selected residents of Orange County, FL are potential jurors for the First Degree Murder trial of accused Police Officer killer Dontae Morris. Morris is scheduled for trial in the murders of Tampa Police Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis after the officers pulled over a car Morris was in three years ago. At the time of Morris being pulled over he was wanted on a warrant out of Jacksonville for a worthless check. Upon his detainer he fired upon and killed Officers Kocab and Curtis. After shooting the officers Morris fled on foot and a manhunt ensued until he ultimately gave himself up at a local Tampa criminal attorney’s office. Due to the nature of the murder charge, Morris could face the death penalty if convicted should a jury ultimately elect to recommend death and the trial Judge oblige their wishes. For now, an Orange County jury will be selected to try the Hillsborough County case. A looming question on the mind of many is why pick a jury in a different jurisdiction?

Due to the subject matter of this trial leading to much media attention and despite the crime occurring in Hillsborough County, the jury will be selected in Orlando and ultimately sequestered in Tampa. Florida’s Constitution, under Article I, Section 16, guarantees that an individual accused of committing a crime shall receive an impartial trial in the county wherein the crime was allegedly committed. As support for this guarantee, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.240 allows as a safeguard, for the Defendant or the State Attorney’s Office to move for a change of venue. As a basis for this motion the moving party will allege that a fair and impartial trial can’t be had in the county where the crime was committed and as such the trial or at least the jury selection should be moved to another county in the hope that a pool of individuals less familiar with the facts can be found. Florida criminal statute 910.03 dictates that upon a court ordering a change of venue, priority must be given to any county that closely resembles the demographic composition of the county wherein the original venue would lie. Using the Morris case (see also the Casey Anthony case) as an example, the closest county offering the most purported safety in distance with the closes demographic makeup to Hillsborough is Orange County, likely because of the cities of Tampa and Orlando being somewhat similar demographically.
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Authored by Paul J. Wallin of Wallin & Klarich | A Law Corporation

If you’ve been accused of rape in California, and you live in Tampa, Florida you need to be aware that the state of California will likely extradite you so that you can be tried for this very serious crime. This means California can take the legal action necessary to physically return you to California. (This is called extradition). Therefore, speaking to an attorney experienced in rape charges in California can make the difference in your case. At Wallin & Klarich we have over 30 years of experience defending clients accused of rape.

What is rape under California Penal Code 261?

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Two men are facing a Federal criminal complaint out of the Northern District of New York for allegedly hatching a plot to create an X-Ray gun capable to shooting lethal doses of X-Ray radiation. Alleged members of the Ku Klux Klan, Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Galway, NY and his buddy Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, NY have been arrested and charged with the Federal crime of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in violation of 18 USC 2339A. If convicted of the charges, Mr. Scott and Mr. Feight face up to 15 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and a large fine. The essence of the criminal complaint is that these two “gentlemen” schemed to create a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing targets from afar with a mega dose of radiation. Their alleged intent was to blast unknowing victims with said radiation, only to have their victims fall ill days later and eventually die. Despite their dedicated intentions, at no time was their cartoon ray gun operable or even capable of fulfilling their double secret squirrel plot according to authorities.

Is the KKK really involved? If so it looks as if at least some of them have now graduated from wearing white uniforms that look like Casper’s redneck friend Crisper and hurting people, to generally screaming at rallies in cities, to now plotting attacks with hi tech laser tag guns? Can anyone fill me in here? I’m proud to admit that I don’t knowingly know anyone in the KKK so I can’t attest to the intelligence level of the group as a whole or any of them as individuals, but this seems to me like they’re grasping at straws a bit. Ray guns? Seriously? Dumb, dadumb, dumb, dumb… Whatever bobs their bobber I guess, but there will likely be consequences to thinking and behaving like fools.
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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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71 year old Pennsylvania man William Moody had a bad day. Just this past Friday Moody became enraged when a good samaritan parked in his driveway so as to render aid to a victim of a nearby accident. According to a report, the samaritan only blocked Moody in for 10 minutes, a 10 minute period just before Moody intended on going to eat. Needless to say, Mr. Moody became “hangry” and proceeded scream at both the good Samaritan and officers who attempted to calm him down. Despite their efforts, Officers ended up being pushed and ultimately had to dodge a good looking set of dentures launched their way. Upon officers attempting to arrest the very moody Moody, it is alleged that he feigned a heart attack only to have officers remove the handcuffs. They were repaid with more abuse, ultimately culminating with Moody throwing his false teeth at them when they arrived at the police station.

Clearly somebody should have given this man a Snickers. Had that occurred it is very likely none of this would have happened as we all know we aren’t ourselves when we’re hungry! Instead, Moody will be charged with a slew of violence and resisting arrest charges in his home State of Pennsylvania. Because Florida is awesome, this type of thing happens here with regularity. In Florida, under this fact pattern, Moody would be charged at minimum with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. Battery on a law enforcement officer is generally a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Generally speaking, a battery on a law enforcement officer is nothing more than an actual and intentional touching of another against their will or an intentional touching that causes harm and the victim is known to be a law enforcement officer. A Tampa criminal attorney can often mount a mitigating defense that the accused had no idea the victim was an officer. If successful, the battery on a law enforcement officer charge would likely go away, resulting in a total acquittal or a conviction for a misdemeanor count of simple battery. Unfortunately for Mr. Moody, if these officers were wearing a uniform, were in a marked car, or identified themselves as officers, his goose is likely cooked. From the appearance of the dentures Mr. Moody could be lucky he isn’t being charged with assault with a deadly weapon or an act of terrorism due to the funk on his chops. Time will tell on that…
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Tampa man John Andrew Welden, 26, is facing a Federal charge in the middle district of Florida for allegedly tricking his girlfriend into ingesting the abortion pill cytotec. Welden, whose father is an OB/GYN doctor was arrested May 15th and is specifically alleged to have forged a prescription form and disguised the cytotec as Amoxicillin. Welden’s girlfriend and alleged victim, Remee Jo Lee had no health insurance at the time she found out she was pregnant and sought the care of Welden’s father for a sonogram. John Andrew Welden is alleged to have lied to Lee and told her his father diagnosed her with an infection and administered the cytotec disguised as Amoxicillin to combat the alleged infection without her knowledge and consent. Welden is further alleged to have held himself out as being a medical doctor and counseled Lee when the cytotec reacted to Lee’s body, causing heavy cramping and bleeding. It was only when Lee took the remaining pills to a pharmacist when she learned that what she was ingesting was not Amoxicillin at all.

Welden was indicted on Federal criminal charges via a two count indictment, true bill returned May 14, 2013 alleging that he violated 18 USC 1365(a) by tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury to an individual and 18 USC 1841 and 1111(a) for causing death to an unborn child the same as murder. For purposes of figuring out what Welden is looking at with respect to a criminal sentence, we have to strip down the allegations. Simply put, Welden is accused of murder, as per 18 USC 1841(a)(C) his punishment shall be guided by 18 USC 1111, the Federal murder statute. Because murder is the most serious allegation and the charges will be “grouped” as they arose out of the same incident, it will govern the sentence possibilities. 18 USC 1111(a) calls for death or life imprisonment if a defendant is found guilty of first-degree murder. First Degree Murder, as it applies to this case, is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Every murder perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing…. Because 18 USC 1841 specifically interjects a murder punishment for the death of an unborn child if the conduct is applicable, an unborn child under this situation, and per this statutory scheme, is considered a human being. No doubt the United States Attorney’s Office will seek a first degree murder conviction against Welden and they may well get it if they can show that the cytotec can be considered “poison” or that his actions were willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated. If the United States Attorney’s Office can put together the paper trail against Welden and maintain the alleged victim’s credibility, Welden’s Federal criminal lawyer may have his or her work cut out for them.
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