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A 76-year-old Pinellas Park doctor has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the deaths of three patients who were prescribed pain medications at his clinic.

A federal judge in Tampa called the man a “drug pusher” at sentencing Monday and said he will have the “rest of his life to think about that.”

Reports indicate that the man was unaware he was breaking the law and asked the judge to show mercy on his 66-year-old wife who is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday. She managed her husband’s office.

The couple was convicted during a 17-day trial on multiple counts in a drug and financial conspiracy.

The man was held accountable for the three deaths.

In an attempt to crack down on the pill mill epidemic in Florida, police and prosecutors can be a tad overzealous when it comes to charging legitimate health care professionals with running pill mills. With that said, innocent doctors and other health care providers are often accused of committing crimes they did not commit.

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Polk County deputies have arrested a Polk County high school teacher for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old female student.

The 34-year-old has been charged with three counts of sexual battery by custodian on a victim between 12 and 18 years old.

The sexual activity took place during the 2014-2015 school year, according to deputies.

Investigators claim the teacher and the student started “sexting” on their phones and then the relationship turned physical. A report alleges that there were two sexual encounters in a classroom at the school and another at the man’s home.

Investigators allege that when they questioned the man he blamed his behavior on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from serving in the military. According to reports, the man apparently told the girl he was involved with that he felt “guilty” about the relationship, because he was married and his wife was pregnant at the time.

The man has been an employee of Polk County Schools since 2010.

The district said he has been placed on administrative leave. A recommendation is being made to terminate him, according to reports.

Sex crimes charges are prosecuted quite aggressively in the state of Florida. After accusations have been made, it is important to get the legal help you need as these cases can be quite taxing on those accused due to the fact that they are very emotionally driven.

Everyone has the right to a fair trial. However, sexually based offenses carry a powerful social stigma that makes protecting your rights much more complicated than any other types of criminal charges. It is important to remember that you are entitled to a fair trial, even if the court of public opinion has already found you guilty.

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A state prison corrections officer was arrested this week after being accused of molesting a young girl at an Ormond Beach-area day care he co-owned.

The girl, who is now 9 years old, told her mother about the alleged abuse in April 2015, several years after it allegedly happened, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

The girl apparently told deputies that the 49-year-old touched her and showed her pornographic videos when she was at the daycare.

Deputies say the alleged abuse happened between 2008 and 2010.

The man was arrested Tuesday and is facing a lewd or lascivious molestation charge.

When a child makes a sex crimes accusation it is usually presumed to be true, without question, regardless of whether there is any truth behind it. That is why it is critical to retain legal help as soon as an accusation has been made against you, regardless of your innocence.

Child molestation is a very serious accusation. At Whittel & Melton, our Volusia County Criminal Defense Lawyers can work to help you whether you are the innocent victim of a false accusation or misunderstanding, or whether you have made a mistake. While each case is different, we have successfully handles many sex crimes cases and know how to handle these challenging situations.  

If you are accused of child molestation, understand that you will likely automatically be viewed as guilty, not just by law enforcement and prosecutors, but also by your friends, coworkers, and even family members. You could even be separated from your own children, despite whether or not they are alleged victims.

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According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an officer with the Orlando Police Department was arrested this past weekend in Manatee County for DUI and hit-and-run.  

FHP claims that on Saturday, troopers investigated a hit-and-run accident involving two unattended parked cars at 7085 46th Ave. W. in Bradenton.

Reports indicate that the cop was stopped in the area after a Manatee County deputy observed him swerving on the roadway. Troopers said he was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle.

During the investigation, troopers allege they were able to link the DUI and hit-and-run to the police officer.

He was arrested and charged with DUI and hit-and-run.

The Orlando Police Department said the man has been with the force since 2012 and is assigned to the midnight patrol. Reports indicate that the man has been relieved of his law enforcement duties, credentials and firearms pending an internal investigation.

Anyone can be charged with DUI, as this case shows. Your actions following a DUI arrest are critical to the outcome of your case, and it is very important to obtain legal help as soon as possible. There are various defenses available for a DUI charge, and if used successfully, these defenses could lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges.

While there are numerous defenses available, two that are often brought up involve the reason behind the stop and the method used to test the driver’s BAC. In order for a DUI stop to be legal, police must must have a legal reason to make a stop before administering tests to determine the driver’s BAC levels. If the officer cannot provide a reason for stopping the driver, the stop itself may be illegal and the charges could very well be dismissed.

If the stop is legal, then it is very important to assess the process that was used to determine the driver’s BAC. It must be evaluated that the right method was used and that the sample was analyzed properly.

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Detectives arrested a St. Petersburg man who was allegedly running a drug operation involving more than $1 million worth of marijuana.

The 24-year-old is facing charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Detectives claim they have been watching the man for several years.They received a tip that he was storing large quantities of marijuana in his apartment, which led them to obtain a search warrant, according to reports.

On March 23, investigators went to his apartment and apparently found 23 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana that was packaged and ready for distribution inside his kitchen cabinets. Detectives claim they also found three guns and $87,000 in suspected drug money.

For the next month, detectives continued to investigate the man, and they claim they were able to identify about 230 pounds of marijuana — including the 23 pounds found his house apartment — and $168,000 cash associated with his operation.

Police say 230 pounds of marijuana has a street value of $1,150,000.

The U.S. Postal Service assisted police with the investigation, according to reports.

Being caught with any amount of marijuana and charged with a crime of marijuana possession in Florida is a very common drug charge. However, this does not mean you  should take these charges lightly. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could be facing hefty fines, a permanent criminal record, and a significant amount of time behind bars.

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A former Miami-Dade County police director and mayor is facing a domestic violence-related charge following a fight with his longtime girlfriend.

A Coral Gables police report claims the man turned himself in Wednesday, and he was charged with battery.

The arrest report describes that the man’s girlfriend went to his home Saturday to return a cat, and the two began to argue. The woman told police that the man grabbed her by both arms and pinned her against a wall. The report accuses the man of yelling profanities at the woman and spitting at her.

Investigators said the woman’s injuries were consistent with her statement.

The woman and her teenage daughter told police a pattern of domestic violence had developed since 2013, according to reports.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, the best thing you can do to help your case is to get an attorney involved now. Time is of the essence when it comes to these cases. Prosecutors file charges very quickly in regards to domestic disputes, so it is important that an investigation is conducted as soon as possible so that the best defense strategy can be applied. Each case is unique and varies based on facts specific to the case. However, it is best to not delay in obtaining legal representation so that your chances of reducing the charges or obtaining a favorable outcome is not compromised.

It is impossible to predict what will happen with your case without knowing the facts. Punishment varies in each case and depends on whether there are any prior offenses, the extent of any injuries, whether there were any weapons involved, the conduct alleged, whether physical or verbal violence occurred, including making a criminal threat or stalking.

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A South Florida police officer has been fired after authorities allege he got caught up in an undercover prostitution sting.

According to a Boynton Beach police spokeswoman, the man was fired last week. The eight-year veteran has been on paid administrative leave since October.

Police allege the man drove up to a woman he believed to be a prostitute and offered her $20 for oral sex. The woman was actually an undercover deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Boynton Beach police terminated the man for conduct unbecoming a police officer and conformance to law.

Prostitution stings are regularly conducted by police across the country. In some cases, law enforcement agents will place false advertisements for escorts or massage therapists online or in classified ads. In other cases, detectives will pose as prostitutes on the street or other areas looking to arrest “John’s,” or those looking to solicit sex. Responding to online ads or inquiring about sex could land an otherwise innocent person behind bars and facing charges of solicitation.

Solicitation of prostitution in Florida is against the law and carries serious legal consequences. Beyond the legal consequences, a charge of solicitation can wreck personal lives and relationships as well as end careers, as this case shows.

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Gainesville, FL – A University of Florida religion professor who was arrested last year for video voyeurism after deputies claim he secretly recorded a teenage girl has been sentenced to five years’ probation.

The 54-year-old was arrested in October on charges of video voyeurism and possession of obscene material.

He allegedly put a USB recording device in the teenage family member’s closet in October 2014 to capture her actions on video, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. Of the seven video files the device contained, two apparently had content.

One of those videos apparently showed the man putting the device in the closet and repeatedly stepping back to check its location, while the other showed the teenager in just her underwear, the report said.

Earlier this month, the man pleaded no contest to one count of video voyeurism, court records show. He was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and must continue with counseling for at least 30 months.

He also is prohibited from possessing pornographic material and is subject to court-ordered restrictions regarding unsupervised contact with minors.

A judge withheld adjudication of guilt in the man’s case.

The man is currently on paid leave, has no professional duties at the university right now and remains banned from the grounds, according to a spokeswoman for the university.

A voyeur, also known as a “peeping Tom,” is someone who gains sexual gratification from watching others in secret. Voyeurism is a sexual offense that is illegal and carries serious consequences. Voyeurism is a felony crime that could result in time behind bars, which is why these charges must be dealt with accordingly. Sexually based offenses are never taken lightly by prosecutors, so you must not ignore such accusations or think you can clear any misunderstandings up on your own by speaking with police.

As soon as you have been accused of voyeurism, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to obtain legal help. An Alachua County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can make sure you are fully aware of the charges against you and what needs to be done to try and achieve the best possible outcome. Sex crimes cases are highly unique – no two cases are the same – which is why you need to act fast and work with an attorney who can develop the best defense strategy for your case.

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A man died after he was struck by the stolen van he was pursuing Thursday in Hudson, Pasco County sheriff’s deputies said.

About 5 p.m. Thursday, the man and owner of a 1999 Ford van and his brother-in-law were in a car following the stolen vehicle from Hernando County into Pasco County. The van had been reported stolen in Spring Hill on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.

The driver of the van, a 33-year-old Spring Hill woman, pulled into a parking lot at 16823 U.S. Highway 19 on Thursday, according to reports.

The man tracking down his stolen van exited the vehicle and approached the driver’s side of the van, when the woman attempted to flee in the van. She ended up running over the man, deputies said.

The man was taken to Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

The woman was arrested at 1:46 a.m. on Friday and booked two hours later into the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center. She is facing charges of felony murder and grand theft auto.

According to Hernando County jail records, she has been arrested numerous times on drug, burglary and larceny charges. She also was arrested twice in Pasco County during 2012, according to jail records.

The investigation is ongoing.

The charges this woman faces are quite serious. For murder and grand theft auto charges, she could be facing a lengthy time behind bars along with other severe consequences.

Following an arrest for grave charges like these, it is crucial to find the support you need to build your case. A Pasco County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton may be able to help prove your innocence and clear your name. Our goal is to protect your rights inside and out of the courtroom.

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An Ocala man continues to wait in custody for a judge to decide whether he deserves a new trial. It has been more than six months since his conviction.

The 29-year-old maintains his innocence of the two charges for which a jury found him guilty in an early September 2015 trial: lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and burglary of a dwelling with battery.

The charges arose from a June 2014 call to the Ocala Police Department, in which a concerned grandmother relayed her granddaughter’s story that the man had come into her room during the night and rubbed his genitals over her shorts.

The man is well known to the girl, who was 10 years old at the time, and her family. He said he is close friends with the girl’s mother and was a regular visitor to the Ocala home the three generations of women shared.

The man has been challenging his conviction by petitioning for a new trial.

While the judge denied his first motion for a new trial, filed by the public defender who represented him at trial, his second motion is pending and was the focus of a hearing this week. During the hearing, the girl changed her story to some extent, recanting the part of her original testimony that related to the molestation charge.

The judge is expected to decide on the motion at a hearing set for 10 a.m. April 29. Should the man be granted a new trial on both charges, he could be released from the Marion County Jail as he waits for the new trial.

The man’s first motion for a new trial highlighted a new finding in jury conduct: one juror informed the man’s public defender that she did not know she was allowed to disagree with the other jurors, according to the motion. The public defender polled the all-female jury. Two jurors changed their verdicts, prompting more deliberation and an eventual consensus around a guilty verdict.

William Sheslow, of Whittel & Melton, LLC, was hired by the man after his trial and has pursued a different avenue in a second motion for a new trial. Sheslow argued that the man deserves a new trial based on a notarized statement from the victim’s mother, in which she wrote that her daughter told her after the trial that the man had never molested her. Sheslow also pointed out an antagonistic relationship between the mother and the public defender in the original trial, which he said would have prevented the public defender from obtaining this information.

The antagonistic relationship stemmed from an unrelated case, in which the mother was a victim and the public defender represented the defendant (who was not the man convicted in this case).

Sheslow presented this motion before the judge in November, and the judge requested that he subpoena the mother so he could gauge her credibility at a future hearing before making a decision. That hearing came Monday, when court records indicate the mother, the grandmother and the now 12-year-old girl all testified. The public defender testified as well.

Sex crimes, especially those believed to have been committed against a child, are taken very seriously by courts, as this case shows. The truth is that these cases often rely on the alleged victim’s testimony against the word of the accused. Sadly, testimony from a child is not always an accurate account of what truly happened, and prosecutors will push for a conviction regardless of what evidence is available.

A Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton knows that sometimes mistakes are made during a criminal trial that can lead to wrong decisions being reached. Fortunately, Florida law provides for legal remedies to correct an improper conviction or sentence. A motion for a new trial may allow you to have your case heard again, but by a different jury.

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