Florida’s 5th DCA– the appellate body that reviews criminal cases in counties like Hernando County or Brooksville, FL, Sumter County or Bushnell, FL, Citrus County or Inverness, FL and Marion County or Ocala, FL, to name a few–declined to change a $500,000 bond ordered in a potential homicide case in Orange County.
Sheriff’s Office detectives originally arrested the defendant for child neglect, obstruction of a criminal investigation and false statements. The defendant is rumored to be linked to a potential homicide. At the first appeareance, the Prosecutors presented evidence of thier murder investigation and suspicions of defendant’s involvement. Although the defendant was only charged with the above, the Judge took the murder investigation into consideration when setting a bond.
Murder, which is defined in Florida Statute § 782.04, and Manslaughter, which is defined at Florida Statute § 782.07, are crimes that First Appearance Criminal Judges take a very serious look at when considering a request for Pre-Trial Release. Certainly, ties to the community and criminal background also play a role in a judge’s determintaion of bond. However, the danger to the community, potential flight risk and nature of the offense, along with any aggravating factors, are often the overriding when denying the petition to overturn the $500,000 bond. I am sure the judge took the murder investigation into consiteration when setting the high bond.
It appears from Amy L. Edwards’ report that the defendant is going to appeal this decision to the Florida Supreme Court. I am interested to see if they will hear this case and if so, how they will rule. The Bond issue was one of of controversy in Hernando County DUI arrests many years ago as a local County Judge was accused of setting bonds too low. The first appearance is a difficult arena for any defendant and his loved ones and hiring an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Law Firm is strongly advised to advocate for your rights. The Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC is ready to assist you in a Bond Reduction Motion or First Appearances following arrest in many Central Florida courtrooms.