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Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

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A pretrial hearing has been scheduled Monday for former New England Patriot and Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez.

His murder trial is set to start next month.

The hearing at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River will focus on jury issues. Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 9.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the June 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

Hernandez also has pleaded not guilty in a separate case involving the fatal shootings of two men in 2012 after an encounter at a Boston nightclub.

6566853359_6d069f2b0b_zProsecutors preparing for the murder trial have sought to admit a range of evidence related to Hernandez’s other alleged crimes, including the Boston homicides and unlawful possession of firearms.

However, Judge E. Susan Garsh has ruled that prosecutors cannot mention the Boston killings.

The judge also has ruled that prosecutors cannot submit as evidence the final text messages the semi-pro football player sent to his sister, including one sent minutes before he was fatally shot at an industrial park near Attleborough.

Garsh also has ruled that prosecutors cannot introduce the shooting of a former associate of Hernandez who has filed a lawsuit claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after an argument in Florida in 2013.

Courts are usually more inclined to allow previous evidence from other cases when it can be sufficiently connected to the facts of the present case. Admissible evidence of prior criminal acts is always circumstantial, and merely provides support for the prosecution to prove that the defendant could have committed the present act. Due to the fact that this evidence is strictly circumstantial, the purpose is to prove intent, identity or motive.

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The State Attorney’s Office has made the decision to charge a Marion County juvenile as an adult for a robbery that happened last month.

According to jail records, at 12:01 a.m. on a Friday night, on his 18th birthday, a teen was charged with robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a delinquent and carrying a concealed firearm.

6444319887_9045628534_zThe teen and another 16-year-old juvenile were taken into custody Nov. 17 after they were accused of robbing a man in Silver Springs Shores the day before.

The alleged victim told sheriff’s deputies he was approached by two people, each armed with a handgun, when one of them took his cell phone, ear buds and wallet.

His description of the two teens lead to their arrest.

The 18-year-old’s court date is scheduled for Jan. 13.

When it comes to juvenile crimes, it is up to the court to decide whether the juvenile case is transferred to adult criminal court. The court considers many factors when making its choice, including the nature of the crime and the juvenile’s previous delinquent history. If the case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile will be subject to the law in the same manner as an adult.

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Our criminal defense lawyers at Whittel & Melton are very pleased to announce that, according to Governor Rick Scott, Florida is on a path to a 44-year crime low.

The actual number of crimes across the Sunshine State is showing that crime rate is steadily on the decline.

8258120342_5be09894b2_zThe Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released its numbers for the first half of 2014, which shows there were more than 8,000 fewer crimes committed in the first six months of this year than in that same time period in 2013.

However, while the number of non-violent crimes is down, including robbery, burglary and stalking, the number of murders, forcible sex offenses, aggravated assaults and domestic violence are all on the rise.

In Central Florida, most of the counties are in line with the overall report, seeing a drop in criminal activity across the board.

The biggest decline occurred in Flagler County, with crime dropping nearly 11 percent. Sumter County actually saw the biggest rise in crime, with an increase of 2.4 percent.

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State Attorney Angela Corey announced Thursday afternoon that she is prosecuting a 13-year-old boy accused of second-degree murder of a homeless Jacksonville man as an adult.

This is the second time she’s charged a young juvenile with murder.

The 54-year-old homeless man was found dead in a shopping center parking lot on 103rd Street in June. Police said he was shot in the head.

A month later they arrested the then-12-year-old juvenile after a 16-year-old friend was charged in an armed robbery and motor vehicle theft and implicated him.

A grand jury indicted the boy Thursday in the homeless man’s death allowing the adult charges to be filed by the State Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors did not provide a motive for the killing and they did not discuss the case in detail or explain why they filed second-degree murder charges.

According to police, surveillance videos showed the youths at the scene. There was no apparent motive for the shooting, it was described as spontaneous.

Corey said her reasoning for trying the boy as an adult is because even if he was convicted of murder in juvenile court, he could be released in as few as 18 months, but he would have to be released in 36 months.

In the meantime the boy is being housed in the Duval County jail in a wing for juvenile defendants.

The juveniles are not housed with adult offenders even though they are in adult jail. There are 10-minute checks by corrections officers and a school inside the facility.

Juvenile crime is defined as any illegal act that is committed by an individual who is under the age of 18. In most cases, juvenile crimes are governed by a separate court system, with a separate set of rules from the adult court system. However, as this case shows, there are some cases where a minor will be charged as an adult. The main factor in deciding how the juvenile will be tried all boils down to the type of crime that has been committed. In recent years, there has been increased regularity of minors in Florida and across the country being tried and punished as adults due to the types of crimes that have been committed.

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Law enforcement agencies from Hendry and Lee counties were sent on a manhunt Thursday after it was reported three teenage boys had allegedly stolen a car from Lee County.

Officials claim the trio took the vehicle on a joyride that eventually ended in Pioneer Plantation in Central Hendry County.

The three young men allegedly drove the vehicle from Lee County to Pioneer Plantation, where they stopped at the Shell Station located at the intersection of Hendry Isles Boulevard and State Road 80. Reports indicate that the trio then attempted to rob another man by putting a gun to his side, demanding money from him.

home burglaryAccording to police, the victim refused to give up his bank bag and instead grabbed the barrel of the gun. The trigger of the gun was allegedly pulled three times, but failed to fire.

According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the men then ran into a wooded area and were flushed out by K-9 units after a two and a half hour search.

All three suspects were taken into custody. Deputies are still questioning two suspects in the case, but one 17-year-old has been charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted carjacking, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated assault with a firearm, destruction/tampering with evidence, petit theft and grand theft.

Several agencies helped with locating the three suspects, including Hendry County deputies and K-9 units, Clewiston Police Department K-9 units, Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, K-9 units and helicopter, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol.

Juvenile crimes are prosecuted at a very high rate. In the state of Florida and across the country there is an increasing trend for juveniles to be tried in adult court. It is quite common today to see 16 and 17-year-old children being charged as adults.

A robbery charge can bring about serious penalties for a young offender. In the state of Florida, if a person is possession of a firearm when committing a crime or even when attempting to commit a crime, then the 10-20-Life statute can be applied. Anyone convicted under the 10-20-Life statute is ineligible for gain-time and must complete the entire 10 year prison term without the possibility of early release.

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According to reports released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday, crime in Broward and Palm Beach counties took a plunge in 2013 and stayed in line with the state’s total decrease in criminal offenses.

In its 2013 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the state agency concludes that criminal activity, ranging from rapes and murders to robberies and burglaries, have steadily dropped in Florida over the past five years.

The overall crime rate fell by about seven percent in Broward County. With that said, the report relays that there were 46 more forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 2012. The biggest category of crimes to drop was robberies, decreasing by about 13 percent.

crime sceneIn Palm Beach County, the overall crime rate plunged by about three percent in 2013. Conversely, there were nearly 100 more vehicle thefts than in 2012.

FDLE computed the same number of murders in 2012 and 2013 in both counties — 80 in Broward and 74 in Palm Beach.

When you are charged with a crime in Florida, the consequences can be devastating. Criminal charges have the ability to haunt you for the rest of your life, sometimes going as far as limiting your ability to find a job, own or rent a home and even maintain or build new relationships. Even if you do not serve any jail time, a criminal conviction can still negatively impact your life.

A criminal investigation can progress rather quickly. What you may think is nothing right now could lead to your arrest tomorrow. The sooner you involve a criminal lawyer with your charges, the better the outcome for you. A South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly analyze every aspect of your case and begin evaluating possible defenses and strategies right away. From early on, we will look for ways to help you avoid a criminal conviction.

We handle all of the following types of criminal cases, including:

  • Sex offenses, including rape, child molestation, child pornography, prostitution, indecent exposure, child abuse and sexual assault
  • Drug crimes, including possession, sale, distribution, grow house and trafficking
  • Violent crimes, including kidnapping, burglary, assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter and weapons charges
  • White Collar Crimes, such as Internet crimes, fraud, forgery, identity theft and RICO
  • Juvenile Offenses
  • DUI Charges, including DUI Manslaughter and DUI Serious Bodily Injury

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Polk County detectives allegedly discovered 15 pounds of bagged marijuana in a grow house operation inside a barn in Frostproof last month.

Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office claim they received a tip about starved animals on the property. They apparently went to check out the site and found 37 pot plants growing inside a barn. They also found high intensity grow lights and grow light hoods, electric ballasts, air conditioners, air filters, plastic pots used for cannabis cultivation and cannabis stalks and roots.

They also located five horses on the property and determined that the animals were not malnourished or abused, however, did need improved care. The animals were turned over to a family member.

grow house 3Detectives decided to check out the mobile home on the property where they apparently uncovered a 30-30 rifle and two 357 magnum handguns.

Detectives arrested a 49-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman.

The pair has also been accused of stealing electricity to run the barn.

Both were arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail.

Charges in illegal marijuana cultivation cases are based on the number of plants captured by law enforcement officers. Most grow houses contain large quantities of marijuana plants and processed marijuana, so you could be facing serious felony charges that carry substantial prison time. Additionally, police tend to seek asset forfeitures when it comes to drug crime cases, so you could also be looking at frozen bank accounts, the loss of cash and even your home.

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A 71-year-old retired Tampa police captain accused of shooting a man that was texting during a Mark Wahlberg war movie will be arraigned on a second-degree murder charge Tuesday in a Florida court.

The ex-Florida law enforcement officer is charged with gunning down the 43-year-old man and his wife with a .380-calber handgun, following a verbal and physical confrontation.

The man was pronounced dead at a hospital, and his wife was treated for a gunshot wound to her hand.

The man remains in Pasco County jail, and a judge will decide today whether or not to release the man on bail.

.380-calber handgun.pngThe retired cop was arrested at a movie theatre in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa.
Police claim the retired officer shot at the man because he was texting in the movie theater before the movie started.

The former officer apparently asked the man to stop, but the man continued using his cell phone. He then left the theatre to complain to management before returning to his seat.

A verbal altercation apparently began between the two, which then turned physical, according to police reports. Then, the retired cop allegedly pulled out a gun and fired one shot at the man. The man’s wife was wounded in the hand as she grabbed her husband, according to police.

The suspect retired as captain from the Tampa Police Department in 1993, according to a spokeswoman for the department.

Murder or homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being. Second-degree murder charges often arise after a death that occurred in the heat of the moment, meaning it was not intentional or premeditated. In order for the State to obtain a conviction for murder in the second degree, the prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The victim is dead.

2. The death was caused by the dangerous criminal actions of the defendant.

3. The victim was unlawfully killed by a dangerous act that displays a blatant disregard for human life, even if the act was a mistake.

A second-degree murder charge is classified as a first-degree felony in the state of Florida. A conviction carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence, and a judge can also impose additional penalties including up to life in prison, up to life on probation and up to $10,000 in fines. These consequences are significantly increased if a firearm is used. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, any person that uses a firearm to commit second-degree murder will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 25 years behind bars.

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Police arrested two men on Thursday for allegedly trafficking cocaine and a slew of other charges following a routine traffic stop.

Members of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Investigations Unit apparently witnessed a driver not utilizing proper signals in the 4000 block of West State Road 40. Police claim the vehicle was weaving, swerving and crossing the fog line multiple times. Detectives pulled the driver over in the 7000 block of the highway and allegedly seized drugs and firearms.

According to officials, they detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car and that one of the occupants seemed nervous. The men were asked to exit the vehicle.
While authorities were searching a 28-year-old Ocala man they allegedly found two clear plastic bags containing marijuana, according to the arrest report.

Detectives claim they recovered two loaded firearms and 42 grams of cocaine from inside the vehicle. Reports indicate that one of the guns found, a Springfield Armory Model XD, had been reported stolen.

cocaine baggie betch.jpgThe Ocala man told a detective he had purchased the Springfield for $140. He apparently denied ownership of the second gun, an H&R Inc. Gardner Model 632, or the cocaine.

The man was charged with trafficking cocaine, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.

The driver of the car, a 19-year-old Ocala man, was also was arrested. He was charged with armed trafficking of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and carrying a concealed weapon.

Trafficking cocaine is classified as a felony in Marion County and throughout the state of Florida. Police and prosecutors usually seek maximum sentences in drug trafficking cases. In order to obtain a conviction, prosecutors do not have to actually prove that the defendant intended to sell or distribute cocaine, just that there was enough of the drug in the person’s possession that could indicate it was to be sold. This is an offense that is not taken lightly and the penalties attached could significantly impact your future, and not for the better.

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Law enforcement officers in Daytona Beach continued their crack down on celebratory New Year’s Eve gunfire this year.

For the eighth year in a row, men and women from the department were out in full force detaining those suspected of firing weapons.

This year, police arrested two men who allegedly fired weapons into the air.

Police claim that once the clock strikes 12, otherwise responsible citizens think it is OK to do things that are not acceptable to do the other 364 days a year. Celebratory gunfire into the air is one of the most common offenses on New Year’s.

The Daytona Beach Police Chief issued this statement: “Going outside and firing off your AK-47 to celebrate the New Year is a good way to get yourself locked up. You know, what goes up must come down.”

gund betch.jpegIn 2006, a man was killed after a stray bullet hit him during celebrations in Orlando. A bullet fired into the air can fall to the ground with enough speed to deliver severe injuries or even death.

Firing a gun into the air is a third-degree felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. However, it can be difficult to prosecute people who fire guns in the air to celebrate. In fact, a Daytona Beach man arrested last New Year’s for allegedly firing guns, has yet to be tried in court.

Police claim the man was arrested last year for allegedly firing assault-style weapons from a home on School Street. No one was hurt by the stray bullets. He was only charged with carrying a concealed weapon and his case still has not made it to trial.

When it comes to these types of cases, police and prosecutors must prove that the accused fired a weapon into the air. This can be difficult to prove if the arresting officer did not witness the suspect actually discharging the firearm. Regardless, weapons charges are quite serious criminal allegations that should not be taken lightly. If convicted of weapons charges, the penalties can be very harsh.

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