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Five Notre Dame football players were arrested Friday night after police stopped them for speeding and reported finding a handgun and marijuana in the car.

A senior safety, a redshirt freshman cornerback, a freshman wide receiver, a sophomore running back and a sophomore linebacker were each charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Three of the five were also charged with possession of a handgun without a license, also a misdemeanor.

An Indiana State Police trooper stopped the five players in Fulton County for driving 73 mph in a 60 mph zone, according to an ISP news release. The officer reported smelling marijuana coming from the car, and a police dog indicated that there were drugs in the vehicle. Officers found a handgun and marijuana after searching the car, according to the report.

The Notre Dame vice president for public affairs and communications said in a statement that the university will determine if additional sanctions are needed.

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, you need the legal advice of a criminal defense attorney. While you may be tempted to go with the free services of the public defender’s office, keep in mind that they will have dozens of other cases and will not have the time to devote to you and a successful outcome for your legal troubles. In fact, the public defender will most likely encourage you to accept a plea bargain, even though you may have a good chance of avoiding a conviction.

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Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after she was apparently caught texting prosecutors on how to win cases.

A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction.

The judge, who sits on the bench over Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties, has resigned, according to a voluntary agreement with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

It stems from complaints and media stories alleging that Coker “had engaged in improper ex parte text communications with Polk County Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones while Judge Coker presided” over a criminal trial in August of 2012.

With those complaints, “the commission commenced an investigation into allegations that Judge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information” about the case “to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial” among other issues.

The agreement also said the commission looked into other complaints that Coker allegedly engaged in other improper communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County prosecutor’s office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney and certain defense attorneys.

The agreement goes on to say “the parties agree that the allegations of judicial misconduct, if found to be true, could result in disciplinary action against Judge Coker.” As a result, the parties sought to resolve the matter “without the time and expense of further disciplinary proceedings.”

Coker did not admit any guilt or fault.

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Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents arrested a 24-year-old man Wednesday for attempting to solicit a 10-year-old girl on the internet.

Authorities say the girl’s mother told the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that her daughter received sexually explicit material from a man.

Deputies then sent the case to FDLE agents in Orlando.

Over the course of the investigation, agents claim they discovered additional evidence that they say shows the man was both sending sexually explicit material and soliciting the 10-year-old to provide explicit material.

Investigators met with the man at his home in Clermont and arrested him. He is charged with transmitting material harmful to minors and using a computer to solicit a child.

The investigation is ongoing, according to reports.

Internet sex crimes, especially those involving minors, are viewed quite seriously by both prosecutors and judges alike. Juries tend to side with the child in these cases, which means an adult accused of soliciting a child could be facing major penalties if convicted. These charges must be dealt with right away, and a Lake County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you understand the full scope of the charges you are facing.

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A Wildwood city commissioner is facing second-degree felony charges after deputies claim he texted a death threat.

The 38-year-old Oxford man was charged Wednesday with intimidation/writing or sending a threat to kill or injure.

According to a Sumter County Sheriff’s arrest report, a woman who told deputies she’d been with the man for more than seven years said that on the afternoon of Aug. 1, she received a text message from him that said, “I just beat my sons with a baton because of my anger towards you. I don’t want your gift of freedom. When I get back I’m going to take your life and mine.”

She told deputies that the man was in Texas when he sent the text.

The woman said that for the entire time they’ve been together, the man has been physically violent toward her and that in the past, she’d been punched, choked, kicked, pushed and dragged across a concrete porch.

The woman also alleges the man has previously threatened to kill her and the people she loves if she “moves on.”

The man has no criminal history. According to reports, the man had a first appearance in front of a judge Thursday and has bonded out of the Sumter Detention Center on $15,000 bail.  

Criminal threats often revolve around one person’s word against another’s. However, credible threats are those made verbally, in writing, or via electronic communications like telephone, email, or texting. In the state of Florida, a “credible threat” is any behavior that causes the threatened person to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of the person’s family or loved ones, and appears to be one that the person making the threat can actually carry out.A threat can still be credible under Florida law even if the person making the threat has no intentions of carry out the act or is incarcerated.

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The case of a former Turkey Creek Middle School teacher accused of having a sex with a 15-year-old student will not go to trial.

The Brandon woman accepted a plea deal Monday. She received five years in Florida state prison, two years of community control (GPS monitoring), followed by 15 years’ probation.

The woman was arrested and charged with sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery and lewd conduct in February 2015.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman established a relationship with the teenager, who was a student in her classroom.

Deputies claim the relationship turned physical with the woman having sex with the boy at the school during school hours and once in his bedroom.

The woman will also have to register as a sex offender.

The decision to take your chances with a jury or to negotiate a deal with prosecutors is never easy when you are faced with a criminal offense. A Hillsborough County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence along with the potential penalties for a conviction. In most cases, we can attempt to work out a deal to avoid or minimize prison time. As former prosecutors, we know how to evaluate the judge and the DA involved in your case, which means we can prepare a powerful strategy accordingly.

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Suspended Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair has dropped out of the race for re-election and has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the State Attorney’s Office to drop perjury and official misconduct charges against him.

Under the agreement, which Blair signed on Thursday, he will continue to receive his pension from the state retirement system and the state will not proceed with the charges against him that came from his time as sheriff. Also, the federal government does not presently consider him a person of interest or have any plan to file criminal charges against him.

Blair’s letter to Wesley Wilcox, supervisor of elections, reads: “Having duly qualified for election for the office of Sheriff of Marion County, in the Republican Primary and General Elections of 2016, I hereby immediately and irrevocably withdraw my candidacy for the office of Sheriff of Marion County.”

Blair also sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, which said: “Having been suspended from office on May 20, 2016, I hereby immediately and irrevocably resign from the office of Sheriff of Marion County.”

Blair, who had been sheriff since he took the oath of office in January 2013, had to leave office on May 20 after he was arrested and charged with two counts of perjury and one count of official misconduct. If convicted of the charges, he faced five years for each charge along with a $5,000 fine for each offense.

Blair’s charges resulted from his account of the 2014 arrest of a man. At least one deputy has admitted beating the suspect following a shootout and after the suspect left his northwest Marion County home. The suspect, who was later convicted of attempted murder, was unarmed and compliant at the time of his arrest; he has a federal civil rights case pending against Blair and several deputies.

Although Blair later swore, on a signed affidavit submitted for that federal case and in testimony in front of a grand jury, that he did not see the suspect face to face after the arrest, a video recorded at the scene shows deputies walking the suspect directly past Blair. A grand jury indicted Blair in May.

The court documents signed Thursday by Blair states that he did not admit or deny “the ultimate facts that gave rise to the charges” and “the agreement is made in my own best interest and enables me to dispose of the charges without risk of conviction and sentence.”

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The mayor of the City of Tavares was suspended from his office by the governor of Florida on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Robert William Wolfe was charged a day earlier with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony. He bonded out of jail Wednesday evening.

According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order, Wolfe “is prohibited from performing any official act, duty or function of public office.”

The city’s vice mayor, Lori Pfister, has been moved to the position of mayor.

The State Attorney’s Office claims that in February, Wolfe filed a $9,000 claim with his insurance company, saying his home was damaged and he needed to rent a home. However, an investigation by the Department of Financial Services found that he never left his property.

It has been estimated that insurance fraud costs the industry more than $80 billion each year. The tricky thing about insurance fraud is that it can be difficult to prove someone guilty because of the way these types of crimes are usually committed. If you have been accused of insurance fraud, you may be an innocent party who had little to nothing to do with a crime. Our Lake County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will investigate your case until we get to the bottom of any alleged criminal activity, so that we can protect your interests and fight for your rights.

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A Citrus County sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged with solicitation and engaging in prostitution, authorities said Wednesday.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said the 31-year-old man was taken into custody.

Authorities said the arrest was in connection with an incident that occurred in Hernando County on July 4.

The man has been fired from his job in Citrus County, according to reports. An internal affairs investigation is being conducted.

He had been with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office since July 2015.

Prostitution is the exchange of sexual favors for a fee and is illegal in the state of Florida. Prostitution charges can result from a plethora of scenarios and carry significant consequences. The state of Florida takes an aggressive stance on prostitution and any related charges, like solicitation, are treated as serious sexual crimes.

Solicitation or prostitution is a severe criminal charge that should not be taken lightly. With that said, these charges often elicit fear, which is why you should never face these charges alone. A prostitution/solicitation offense can be detrimental to your personal life, career, reputation, and freedom.

A Citrus County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you with your sex crimes charge. We will fight to get the charges against you reduced so that you avoid harsh consequences that could devastate your life and career.

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A Largo man has been charged with possessing child pornography, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The 69-year-old was arrested at his home on 126th Avenue Wednesday morning.

According to detectives, the investigation began in April after they received information that the man had child porn in his possession.

Investigators were allegedly able to recover six images depicting child pornography from electronic devices belonging to the man, according to reports.

He has been charged with six counts of possession of child pornography. He was transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

Whether you are facing possession of child pornography charges or the actual production of child porn, these charges are severe and require a strong criminal defense. As former prosecutors with the State, our Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can  provide you with the thorough and aggressive legal defense you need.

We know that many of these cases involve online peer-to-peer file-sharing networks where the material is usually downloaded by mistake or embedded in with other files being downloaded that can later be traced to you. If you have been caught with child porn or have been contacted by police, it is best to invoke your rights to remain silent and contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Speaking with police without your attorney present, regardless of your innocence, can quickly backfire.

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A New Port Richey couple has been arrested on charges of organized fraud, grand theft and mortgage fraud tied to the sale of investment offerings in Clearwater.

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced on Friday the couple is accused of defrauding at least 13 Floridians out of about $500,000.

According to the OFR, potential investors were allegedly recruited through “free” real estate investment seminars held at various hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area. At the seminars, attendees were offered investments in an assisted living facility. The facility never came into operation, authorities claim, and instead the pair allegedly used investor funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of a home in New Port Richey.

When arrested separately on June 24 and July 13 the man and wife were believed to be recruiting investors for a new venture involving multi-level marketing and real estate projects.

The crime of fraud is defined as deceiving another person for financial gain. Organized fraud is any type of fraud committed by an organized group in order to steal from unsuspecting individuals. These charges are quite serious and carry severe penalties. Fraud charges are often investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI, IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A few types of organized fraud include:

  • Get Rich Quick Schemes
  • Phishing: obtaining sensitive personal information, like online usernames and passwords.
  • Bank Fraud
  • Investment Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Mail Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit Card Fraud

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