Criminal Defense Attorney | Criminal Defense Law

Blog Published By Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.


Child-Abuse Testimonies: Not Covered By the Confrontation Clause

When undergoing litigation, criminal defendants are given the power to invoke and use their constitutional right to cross-examine accusers. This is a right that is specifically stated in the Confrontation Clause. This clause is quite logical since it is understood that when an individual is put on trial, his future and freedom are at risk of being lost. Of course, the contents of the Confrontation Clause aren’t only valid for witness testimonies. The clause covers any type of material that can be used to incarcerate an individual who is being charged. Such materials must pass the criteria of having relevance, reliability, and material existence. True Purpose of the Confrontation Clause In the process of court trial, it is a known fact that out-of-court-statements cannot be recognized as valid proofs of guilt of the accused. This is because the Constitution’s Confrontation Clause is in effect. Such statements are declared as mere idle talk and have no bearing on the case in question. A criminal defendant’s out-of-court-statement is therefore not a basis for final decisions made by a judge or a jury. Exceptions Under the Confrontation Clause… Read More

Prison Escapees and the Right to Use Deadly Force

An incident involving two convicted New York prisoners who escaped from a maximum security jail brought much attention to the issue on how far an enforcer’s right to use deadly force against escapees could go. Out of the two escapees mentioned above, one ended up dead after being shot by the pursuing officers. The other escapee was captured a couple of days after the incident. He was found bleeding because of a gunshot wound. Now, the big question is: “Are law enforcement officers really given the right to use deadly force when dealing with escaped convicts?” Proper Treatment of Convicts Based on American Bar Association Standards The ABA (American Bar Association), the group responsible for the creation and implementation of humane standards for treating convicts, has a very clear answer to the question above. Yes, deadly force can be used against a convict attempting to escape but this should be under special circumstances only. “Escaping” means leaving the enclosed areas of the prison without due permission from the authorities. Jail guards or other law enforcers are required to issue a loud verbal warning or other… Read More

Jailhouse Informant Testimony: Issues on Evidence Admissibility

When defendants are declared guilty of committing a capital crime, they are either sentenced to live the rest of their lives in prison, or they are quite literally killed by the state. There is so much at stake involved in capital crimes. A jury must therefore exercise utmost care in pronouncing a defendant guilty, especially in cases where the death penalty may be imposed. The Problem with Jailhouse Informant Testimony The question is: how much weight should be given to jailhouse information evidence? Is it fine to give more importance to jailhouse information testimonies than to the account of an eyewitness or to an alibi presented to the court? Data is suggesting that the preferential treatment received by jailhouse informants leads to unfair sentences. About 50% of wrongful convictions are caused by misleading testimonies, many of which from jailhouse informants. This fallibility is further exacerbated by the fact that 153 death row absolutions were imposed, after it has been found that the jailhouse information offered was not wholly dependable. What Makes Jailhouse Information Believable? It is a known fact that police agencies are limited in… Read More

Is There a Need for Internet Access in Prisons?

Without access to the internet, convicts released from their prison sentence find it hard to integrate themselves back to a community that continued to exist without them. Their participation in the civilian community is put in jeopardy because they are made so unaware of changes in the world. Deprived of the online world, these prisoners are held back to relatively older methods of communication, like snail mail. Out of all the states, only four allow some form of limited internet access, a striking statistic. A large number of people argue that internet access counts as a basic human necessity, much like food and water, and the denial of it is a rejection of human rights. This argument was only made stronger when a certain prisoner named Michael Santos, who finished his 25 year prison sentence three years ago, said that individuals from the outside should have access to firsthand account of life inside prison itself. Without access to the internet, prisoners are completely shunned from the “outside world”, denying them even merely an exposure to it online. Not only does this disrupt chances for proper… Read More

Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd., 128 S. Ct. 1610 | Case Brief

CASE: Crawford v Marion County Election Board. 553 U.S . 181 (2008) FACTS: An Indiana statute of 2005 required voters voting in person to produce a photo ID on the election day. In case a voter failed to meet this requirement and wanted their votes counted, then they had to cast a provisional ballot and then visit a specified government office (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) within ten days and get one. Another option would be to produce documentation from the Bureau stating that they could not afford a photo ID. For voters who had religious objections to being photographed, they were required to cast a provisional ballot and then sign an affidavit before a court clerk within ten days. HOLDING: (vote 6-3) A statute requiring voters to show their ID before they are allowed to take part in the voting process is constitutional. It is a minimal burden that does not impose undue burden on one’s constitutional right to vote. MAJORITY REASONING: Justice John Paul Stevens, (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy) Rule: He was of the opinion that burdens placed on voters… Read More

Sponsored Legislation By The Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility

The Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is an organization that seeks to eliminate drunk driving in America. It is involved in research and policy development regarding underage drinking, teen driver safety and healthy lifestyles. In addition, they hold community events to campaign against driving while under the influence of alcohol. The Foundation also participates in legislation processes and has done so in more than 45 states and even at the federal level. In this regard, the Foundation lists some of the pending legislation regarding driving while under the influence. Pending legislation under the title “Ignition Interlock Devices for Repeat DUI Offenders” seeks to establish a statutory scheme for the issuance of a restricted driver’s license. The scheme would also enable one to get reissued with a driver’s license. It would require such a person to install an ignition interlock device on all the motor vehicles that they own or operate for a stated period of time. The manufacturers of these devices would be issued with specified requirements. Court fees for alcohol and drug assessment programs would also be required. This legislation is currently at the… Read More

Drivers Must Possess “Actual Knowledge” of a Motor Accident to be Found Guilty of Charges in a Hit-and-Run Case

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that drivers must possess “actual knowledge” of a motor accident to be found guilty of charges in a hit-and-run case. Zachariah Dorsett hit a teenager with his heavy pickup, after the teen fell off a skateboard into the road. Mr. Dorsett was pulled over and arrested by police roughly three miles from the scene of the accident and was charged with a serious offense, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office. Nicholas Savinon, was dragged roughly 40 feet on North Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton, Florida. He suffered numerous injuries: traumatic injuries to the brain, both a dislocated and fractured hip, along with fractures and various other injuries to his face. When questioned, Dorsett claimed he did not even know that he hit the teenager; he explained that the radio was blasting at full volume, his windshield wipers and AC were running, and all of his windows happened to be rolled up. Dorsett was found guilty at trial, and sentenced to two years in a Florida prison. At appeal, Dorsett’s criminal attorney argued… Read More

What Kinds of Testimonial Privileges Do We Have In a Criminal Case?

Do we have any privileges that will prevent people from testifying against us in a criminal case? While most people are aware of, or partially understand the rights afforded to them, including the protection from self-incrimination, it is less commonly known that there are laws that can aid an individual in preventing others from testifying against them. Different privileges are available under state and federal law, and are often recognized in both state and federal courts. Although we may have certain privileges available, it is usually up to the defendant or attorney to assert their intentions of using these protections. The defendant usually must knowingly object to any testimony that may potentially be protected by a recognized privilege. Attorney-Client Privilege This is one of the most commonly known, and exists to allow the attorney and client to be able to discuss all aspects of a case, without the client fearing that their attorney will end up using the information that was provided against them in trial. Religious Confession (Clergy Privilege) The Federal Rules of Evidence recognize the clergy privilege, protecting both the individual making the… Read More

Oklahoma Senator Proposes New Law Banning DUI Offenders from Purchasing Alcohol

DUI – “Alcohol Restricted”? Senator Patrick Anderson of Oklahoma, has recently introduced a new bill allowing courts to ban those individuals who have been convicted of DUI from purchasing any form of alcohol for a certain amount of time. If this law is passed, those caught and convicted of DUI will have to carry a special license, which indicates that they are restricted from alcohol.Also included in the bill is a provision for those who purchase alcohol for someone deemed “alcohol restricted”, making it a felony to do so. “..knowingly sell, deliver or furnish alcoholic beverages to a person who has been order to abstain” could face a fine of up to $1,000 or one year in prison.  This bill comes a few months after Oklahoma passed another, which is aimed at targeting those involved in DUIs; it is now much easier for the government to confiscate a vehicle when an individual is charged with driving under the influence. Police Discretion & DUI Driving under the influence is a criminal act of operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs. DUI and DWI are… Read More

Additional 3 Months for Beach Place

Fort Lauderdale declared Beach Place, a popular outdoor mall in front of the beach on A1A, a nuisance to the city due to reported drug dealing and various other criminal activities in and around the bars and outlet shops of Beach Place. Lee Feldman, the Fort Lauderdale City Manager, threatened possible closure of the retail complex if problems continued. Owners of Beach Place previously promised additional security measures, which were never implemented. Recently, the city commissioners approved a new plan allowing an additional three months to step up security measures; it was decided that it would not be the greatest idea to close up shop during one of its busiest seasons. Commissioner Romney Rogers explained that he was worried Beach Place would end up like Riverfront complex near Andrews Avenue; once a popular location, but is now nearly empty. Commissioner Dean Trantalis wanted to revoke the special entertainment district designation; which allows multiple bars to set up shop on the property, and allows them to continue serving alcohol until 4 a.m. “As I listen and as I read what we’re talking about in terms of an… Read More