Articles Posted in Criminal

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A suspected drunken driver hit five middle school students as they walked home from the bus stop last month. One student later died of his injuries.

A witness at the scene pointed out the car that had allegedly just crashed into the children.

The black vehicle had hit another car about 4,000 feet (1,219.2 meters) down the road. The driver then stumbled out of the vehicle. A woman who was four months pregnant was injured in that crash, according to authorities.

The 48-year-old was arrested. He is apparently a former police officer.

Officials said a 13-year-old died of his injuries at an Orlando hospital. Another child was in intensive care with orbital fractures. Three other children suffered minor injuries.

The man arrested has made his first appearance in court. He faces 11 charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was being held on $600,000 bail.

Regardless of the situation, a car accident that results in a death is always traumatic. Adding a DUI charge to this just exacerbates the situation. DUI manslaughter charges can be confusing, which is why you need to get legal help right away. It is imperative that you understand the charges you are facing, what the consequences are, and what defense options are available to you.

Yes, a DUI manslaughter conviction can result in severe penalties. However, please understand that there are ways to defend yourself. Knowing your defense options are crucial. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI manslaughter charge in Polk County, you need to consult with a Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We are former prosecutors so we are armed with the knowledge and experience you need to achieve a successful outcome from DUI manslaughter charges.

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Chris Soules is asking an Iowa district court to drop charges related to his leaving the scene of a deadly April 24 crash with a tractor, saying he did everything he was supposed to do under the law.

The former ‘Bachelor’ star says he called 911 and identified himself after his pickup truck crashed into the tractor. He then tried to resuscitate the 66-year-old driver, who was transported to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Soules stayed at the scene of the crash until emergency responders arrived, but was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

For whatever reason, the charging officer failed to include in the Complaint and Affidavit that Soules provided his name and accident location to the telecommunication arm of law enforcement before leaving the crash site.

If you have been in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed and confused. It can certainly be hard to maintain a clear head and take the necessary steps. First and foremost, it is important to make sure that everyone is OK. If someone is injured, call 911 immediately to get qualified medical professionals to the scene.

Once you have established that all the people involved are safe, you should exchange information with the others involved including:

  • Their names
  • Descriptions of the vehicles involved
  • Insurance company for all drivers
  • Addresses
  • Drivers license numbers
  • License plate numbers

If there are any witnesses, it is a good idea to get their information as well.

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When a criminal conviction is invalidated on appeal, the state is obligated to refund fees, court costs and restitution paid by the defendant, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month.

In Nelson V. Colorado, a violation of due process rights was found under the 14th Amendment. The state’s statute regarding compensation for the exonerated, which allows the retention of conviction-related assessments until the exonerated person proves his or her innocence by clear and convincing evidence in a civil court proceeding.

“Is there a risk of erroneous deprivation of defendant’s’ interest in return of their funds if, as Colorado urges, the Exoneration Act is the exclusive remedy? Indeed yes, for the act conditions refund on defendant’s’ proof of innocence by clear and convincing evidence,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. “But to get their money back, defendants should not be saddled with any proof burden.”

Two petitioners both had convictions dealing with sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse of children. One was ordered to pay $8,192.50 in fees, and was acquitted of all charges on appeal. The Colorado Department of Corrections kept $702.10 of that money. The other petitioner had one conviction reversed on direct review, and the others were vacated on post-conviction review. He was ordered to pay $4,413 in fees, and paid the state $1,977.75 after his conviction.

Neither person filed a claim under the state’s Exoneration Act, but both petitioned the court for a refund. The first petitioner’s trial court denied her motion, and the second petitioner’s post-conviction court refunded costs and fees, but not restitution. The Colorado Court of Appeal reversed, but the state supreme court found that since the two did not file a claim under the statute, the trial courts did not have the authority to grant refunds.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority. Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate in the case.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent, arguing that the majority did not address whether petitioners could show “a substantive entitlement” for the money they paid in accordance with their criminal convictions.

“No one disputes that if petitioners had never been convicted, Colorado could not have required them to pay the money at issue. And no one disputes that Colorado cannot require petitioners to pay any additional costs, fees, or restitution now that their convictions have been invalidated,” Thomas wrote. “It does not follow, however, that petitioners have a property right in the money they paid pursuant to their then-valid convictions, which now belongs to the state and the victims under Colorado law.”

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a concurrence for the judgement, finding that the majority’s treatment of restitution wasn’t “grounded in any historical analysis.” He wrote at length about Mathews v. Eldridge, a 1976 U.S. Supreme Court case that established a three-part balancing test to determine if the government must offer a hearing to a citizen who faces losing his or her property.

“The Court summarily rejects the proposition that ‘equitable considerations’ might militate against a blanket rule requiring the refund of money paid as restitution…but why is this so,” Alito writes. “What if the evidence amply establishes that the defendant injured the victims to whom restitution was paid but the defendant’s conviction is reversed on a ground that would be inapplicable in a civil suit?”

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Surveillance footage linked here shows the tense moments leading up to an altercation last week between a pilot and a passenger at Kansas City International Airport in Missouri.

The video shows two men entering the airport through an American Airlines gate on April 12. One man is wearing a pilot’s uniform and the other is wearing a blue shirt – he is a passenger.

The passenger appears to follow the pilot through the airport, arguing with him.

The passenger apparently told authorities the altercation began when the pilot, who was traveling as a passenger on the same flight, was “taking up too much room on the aircraft and being disrespectful,” according to an incident report filed by the Kansas City International Airport Police Department.

The passenger allegedly followed the pilot “outside the secure area” in an attempt to take a cellphone photo of his badge, according to reports.

The video shows the passenger’s cellphone being knocked out of his hand as the pilot tries to block his badge. The passenger allegedly grabbed the pilot by the shoulders and pushed him away, causing the pilot to trip over his own luggage.

After the physical altercation, the pilot apparently tried to leave the concourse to meet his wife waiting outside in a car. The passenger followed him, talking to the pilot and trying to take a photo of the car’s license plate, before airport police intervened, according to the incident report.

Police said that the incident was captured on video from the security cameras in the airport and that the footage was saved for further review.

Although the pilot walked away from the altercation, he “suffered lacerations to both legs and bruising to his forearm,” according to the incident report.

The passenger, a 49-year-old man, has been charged with “intentionally inflicting injury” on the pilot. His court date is set for May 16, according to court documents. He could face a fine or up to 180 days in jail.

Battery is a criminal charge that involves bodily injury against another person. Basically, a battery charges involves some type of willful and unlawful physical contact with another person. Battery charges are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers and prosecutors, so it is important to retain legal help as soon as possible to combat these charges.

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New York Knicks favorite Charles Oakley made his first court appearance last week since his arrest and ejection while attending a game at Madison Square Garden.

Oakley, 53, was arraigned in criminal court in Manhattan on misdemeanor assault and other charges before being released without bail.

Prosecutors have accused Oakley of striking a security guard in the February incident. They believe two other people who intervened were pushed and received cuts.

In court, prosecutors read into the record a statement Oakley made after his arrest alleging that Knicks owner James Dolan kept him under watch for no reason.

“Every time I come to the Garden, Dolan has security guards following me,” Oakley said, according to the prosecutors. “Every time I come to the Garden it’s a problem. I buy my own ticket. I don’t want to feel like I owe them anything. I had a couple of drinks before the game but nothing at the game.”

The former NBA player told The Associated Press that he did nothing wrong, and he would not change a thing if he was given a do-over.

Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998.

You can be accused of assault whether or not any physical action was actually taken. In certain situations, just the simple verbal threat of physical violence can be enough for a conviction.

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Three women were arrested Thursday night, two on drug charges and one on a prostitution charge, after an undercover operation at a well-known strip club on Jacksonville’s Southside.

A 22-year-old is facing a charge of soliciting for prostitution, and two other women are facing drug-related charges. One is charged with delivering or distributing cocaine and methamphetamine, and selling benzodiazepine. The other is charged with possession of synthetic drugs and drug paraphernalia.

According to arrest reports, one of the women allegedly sold drugs to undercover agents four times.

The two women arrested on drug charges are each being held on $25,000 bond.

Drug arrests are very serious. The type of penalties that you could be facing depend upon the circumstances involved in your case. While your case may seem similar to another person arrested for a drug crime, every case is unique and the courts determine punishment on a case by case basis. You could be looking at:

  • Probation
  • Drug counseling
  • Jail or prison time
  • Community Service
  • Fines
  • Forfeiture of assets

Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton provide representation to those who have had been charged with a drug related offense. We can help you understand what to do after you have been arrested and what needs to be done to develop a strong defense.

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Jacksonville police have made a massage parlor prostitution arrest.

A 57-year-old woman was arrested Thursday after she allegedly offered to perform a sex act for $70 on an undercover police officer who was getting a massage, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Police said a 55-year-old woman was arrested earlier this month during a prostitution sting at a different Jacksonville massage spa.

Prostitution is defined as any sexual activity in return for payment. If you have been accused of prostitution, understand that you are innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty. You have the right to a criminal defense attorney and due process under the law. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you establish a viable defense when facing prostitution charges.

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At least 13 people were arrested in a series of drug raids Thursday in Orlando and Tampa, according to reports.

Federal agents claim members of the group have been conspiring to sell heroin and cocaine since at least December 2015.

They are charged with conspiracy and intent to distribute a controlled substance.

At least $80,000 and a 2015 Acura ILX were seized, according to reports.

Have you recently been arrested in a drug raid? If so, you will definitely need the services of a highly skilled Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who can help you. When you are arrested on drug charges, you need a defense attorney who can investigate every aspect of your case with the hopes of possibly getting your charges reduced or even completely dismissed. We can assist with your case and have extensive experience in handling drug cases on both the state and federal levels.

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A Boca Raton man facing charges that he pushed and punched a 15-year-old after accusing the boy of egging his home is a former NFL player who spent seven seasons with the New York Jets.

Scott Mersereau, 51, posted a $3,000 bond Saturday and was released from the Palm Beach County Jail.

Mersereau played seven seasons as a defensive tackle with the Jets from 1987-1993. He played in 102 career games and registered 19 sacks but may be best known for a collision during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 29, 1992, that left teammate Dennis Byrd paralyzed.

Mersereau is also a former assistant coach at Boca Raton High School.

On Saturday, Mersereau walked to the boy’s home on Southwest Sixth Avenue and accused him of egging his house, according to reports. The boy apparently told the man he was not at fault.

The argument apparently escalated and the teen started cursing at the man. Mersereau allegedly pushed the boy in his chest with both hands. Mersereau walked to the front door of the boy’s home and demanded to speak with his mother. When the boy told him to leave, Mersereau allegedly grabbed him by the shirt and pushed him again.

Mersereau, listed on the arrest report as 6 feet 3 inches and 230 pounds, then allegedly punched the boy in his face and back of the head with a closed fist.

The attack was witnessed by several people, including the boy’s mother.

The victim had a contusion on the left side of his head and was taken to West Boca Medical Center for treatment.

Mersereau is facing a charge of child cruelty.

Criminal charges involving a child are very serious. Your reputation and freedom are both on the line. These charges must be addressed and it is best to have a criminal defense lawyer in your corner to make sure your rights remain protected throughout the duration of your case.

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A woman accused of performing oral sex on a man inside the Duval County Courthouse and then posting a video of the act has been arrested.

The 26-year-old was booked into the Duval County jail Wednesday night, according to jail records.

Authorities started investigating after a video surfaced on social media showing a man receiving oral sex from a woman in front of what appears to be a courtroom in January. The woman had been in the courthouse for an arraignment for a drug paraphernalia arrest, according to court records. She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to time served.

The incident also was captured on a courthouse security camera.

If you think you are doing something illegal, it is never a good idea to take a video and post it on social media. The same goes if you have been arrested for a crime. While you may want to post about your arrest as a way to blow off steam or gain support, this is just a bad idea and could be deemed as evidence and eventually used against you in court. Your post could even get you arrested again. When in doubt, the rule is simple: don’t post it on social media!  

Being arrested and charged with a crime is extremely stressful. If you have been charged with a criminal act, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to make sure your rights remain protected. Our Duval County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you establish a solid defense against your charges.

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