Criminal Defense Attorney | Criminal Defense Law

Blog Published By Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

‘Criminal Procedure’

The Line Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor

felony vs misdemeanor

Crimes have a general classification but can be broken down further into several categories depending on the level of severity. A crime can also be ranked as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the serious consequences of the criminal act. The categorization of a crime will influence how the case is handled, which is why it is important to understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. The rules that define a criminal act will influence the punishment or potential jail time the offender gets. Let’s first look at what constitutes a felony and a misdemeanor to understand the difference between the two. Felonies vs. Misdemeanors Crimes in Florida The basic distinction between a felony and misdemeanor lies on the penalty meted on the offender. The key difference lies in how much jail time and the type of prison the offender gets depending on the severity of the crime. In Florida, just like in many other states across the country, a felony case is considered to be more serious than a misdemeanor case and will usually attract harsher and lengthier conviction consequences. The District… Read More

Is It Time to Axe Bite-Mark Testimony?

bite marks forensic evidence

Evidence in Criminal Proceedings Evidence is the mainstay for timely resolution of criminal proceedings. It provides the agreeable stand on which the court—judge(s) or jury—makes convictions and acquittals. Understandably, evidence admitted for consideration exists in different forms. Traditionally, these forms include testimony of witnesses, video and/or image data, and forensic evidence—DNA or bite-mark testimony. How Bite-Mark Evidence is used During a trial, it is permissible to call on expert witnesses to testify on whether or not the criminal defendant left the teeth marks or lacerations on the victim in question. The expert witnesses called upon are forensic odontologists. What they do in simple terms is state the degree of semblance between the actual teeth of the criminal defendant to the bite-mark teeth pattern. The odontologists basis his or her decision by comparing the teeth pattern on the victim to a mold of the criminal defendant’s teeth. If a match occurs, then the court will adjudge the criminal defendant to be the source of the teeth marks. Disparaging Stats In a fundamental sense, the bite-mark testimony can be beneficial in a court trial. This has fueled… Read More

Should Kids Be Allowed to Waive Miranda Rights?

miranda for juvenile arrests

Miranda Rights The chances that you have heard a version of the Miranda Rights are high. You do not have to be a crime suspect to have heard it, thanks in part to criminal TV shows and their ubiquitous Miranda warnings read aloud by police officers to criminal defendants as at the time of the arrest. The Miranda Rights starts with the famous “You have the right to remain silent…” Judging by the popularity of the statute, it would appear that most people understand what the Miranda rights actually protect. Wrong. The plain meaning of the Miranda Rights sometimes gets lost. The various ways that law enforcement word Miranda warnings around the country often compound the loss in meaning. Protection Offered by the Miranda Rights By law, a law enforcement officer should read the Miranda rights to the suspect at the time of his or her arrest. The major benefits include: That it is not a must to speak to the police That you are permitted to have an attorney advocate on your behalf at all times of the police interrogation—before, during, and after A… Read More

The Connection Between Expert Witness and Ineffective Assistance

Effective Assistance One of the primary appeals of the United States of America and its Constitution is the protection of the fundamental rights of citizens. The Sixth Amendment guarantees certain fundamental rights of all citizens. A few of these rights include fair and impartial trials, a speedy trial without undue delay, a jury of peers, and effective assistance from counsel. No doubt, the right to effective assistance from counsel is crucial. However, it is subject to significant debate. Apparently, the debate shows no sign of abating soon owing to the widespread nature of the debate. For example, the core of the debate—‘What is Effective Assistance’—affects the primary aspect of the effective assistance right. Nevertheless, case law has established tent pegs that help determine agreeable limitations of the vaguely defined right: specifically to ascertain whether or not an attorney provided effective assistance to his or her client. Ineffective Assistance under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure Due to the nature of the law, an individual can only bring up a case for ineffective assistance by making a post-conviction appeal. The Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 supports… Read More

Why DNA is not Foolproof

dna evidence

DNA Evidence To be fair, DNA evidence would go down in history as one the most influential technologies by the criminal justice system. However, its much-touted “infallibility” is falling like a pack of cards in the face of growing technological scrutiny. DNA Evidence is Fallible For the layman, the premise of using DNA evidence is fail-safe. Our DNA is one of a limited number of biological signatures—another being our fingerprints. Considering that on average we shed 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells per hour, it is overwhelmingly possible for a suspect to leave a bio-trail at the scene of a crime that makes identifying him or her remarkably easy. However, that explanation is also the bedrock of the opposing viewpoint held by professionals—that DNA evidence is easily transferable. Especially in instances where the DNA evidence is culled from skin cells, then the ability of skin cells to move easily can be a limiting factor to the reliability of the technique. Take this illuminating scenario for example. The murder of a multimillionaire was pinned on a homeless man. Unfortunately, this was a false allegation. The paramedics that… Read More

Financial Bail: How It Distorts Legal Fairness

financial bail in the criminal justice system

Introduction A healthy legal system is one that carries out regular reforms to reflect existing values of the society. Over the last decade, a major issue plaguing the criminal justice system has been the high population of incarcerated individuals, which has led to an overpopulation of the jails and prisons. This is in sharp contrast to countries like Sweden and Netherlands that are closing their prisons for opposite reasons. The fact is that for virtually every year from 1993 to 2012, crime rate has been falling. So, why is the incarcerated population increasing then?Among a myriad of reasons, perhaps the most plausible is the number of outdated practices that put more people in jail, while the rate of the clearance remains fairly steady. One of these outdated practices generating a lot of discourse is financial bail. Financial Bail Financial bail refers to the practice of courts temporarily holding onto a deposit of money or property as collateral. This is to ensure that the defendant will return when trial commences to claim their assets, and guard against the possibility of the defendant being a flight risk.… Read More

Florida’s Death Penalty Sentencing System is Unconstitutional as per US Supreme Court Rule

capital punishment in florida | Broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

The State of Florida has one of the highest death penalty rates in the country. This comes to no surprise as many of its citizens are some of the strongest proponents of capital punishment. However, the state is now facing a significant issue regarding death penalty, which may eventually lead to major amendments in their judicial system, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the state’s death penalty sentencing system is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is of the opinion that Florida’s current death penalty sentencing system is a direct violation of The Sixth Amendment, which proclaims that defendants have the right to a speedy and fair trial, and that the jury for said trial is impartial. The jury shall weigh the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and ultimately determine what sentence shall be given to the criminal. Florida’s current system, however, is different and is considered an outlier compared to the rest of the country as it gives more weight to a judge’s independent judgment instead of a jury’s decision, which could either be unanimous or non-unanimous, another outlier compared to most states. This means… Read More

Consumer Rights

wearable technology and consumer rights | Broward criminal lawyer | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

In the quest for a better and more comfortable life, man has various types of technological gadgets. This has opened up the tech age on which we are part of now. Even if the technological era has made our life simpler, it also brought some disadvantages. It appears that some of the technologies we are enjoying today are also violating our legal right to privacy. Wearable Data Technologies: Harvesting Our Personal Information The popularity of biometric gadgets that people are wearing today might not raise some red flags. The influx of such gadgets is seen by many as a blessing. This is because they can monitor everything about their bodies: pulse rate, metabolism, sleep patterns, and many other things. A lot of these data are stored up in the “cloud” where access can be enjoyed anytime. The alarming thing about this is that with the correct skill and resources, anybody can pry into such private data. Of course, there are also other wearable technologies out there that leave us craving for better levels of privacy. New Generation Television Units as Monitoring Devices Just a few… Read More

Tattoos and Rap

tattoos in court | Broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

Several members of the Latin Kings gang were arrested in Florida for racketeering and other charges. 23 of its members were incriminated in the process of indictment, as associates of one of the biggest and most well organized gangs in the country. The trial sparked controversy and great surprise when the most powerful evidence presented for the case included gang-related tattoos, symbols, and handshakes. People asked, was this a violation of the First Amendment – the right to free speech? Criminal Procedures Guided by Federal Rules Courts are bound by Federal rules of criminal procedure when evaluating and determining when and how they can use evidence in a case. Some submitted evidences may bear insignificant probative value but the defendant may find it highly detrimental to his defense. One example is: a defendant that was arrested for beating up a neighbor does not immediately prove that he also stole a different neighbor’s car. While these two events were unrelated and does not necessarily have bearing for the defendant, the mere presence of sharing the first crime’s incidence with the jury will put the defendant at… Read More

How Far Can The Government Go In Freezing Untainted Assets of Individuals Charged With Crimes?

frozen assets | Broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

The constitution basically provides protection for an individual who has been arrested for committing a crime. There are rights that remain effective even before court procedures commence. Because freedom is at stake in the process, the 5th and 6th Amendment ensures that an individual will have legal assistance. An accused can choose the attorney to represent him most especially if he has the financial capacity to do so. The close relationship between an accused and his attorney is important for the success of the defense. It has been proven over and over again that those who have no choice but to be contented with state-provided attorneys lose in court battles. This is due to the fact that such lawyers are often burdened by a lot of work brought by too many cases they are handling. How A Criminal Defendant’s Assets Are Frozen Asset freezing can be ordered by the government if the crime committed by an individual falls under the “white collar” category. The logic here is easy to see. Since white collar crimes involve money, the monetary assets of an accused are basically evidences… Read More