Criminal Defense Attorney | Criminal Defense Law

Blog Published By Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

‘Supreme Court Decision’

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

Supreme Court DUI Ruling Regarding the Use of Blood Tests in Determining BAC

DUI or driving under the influence is a criminal term used to refer to the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. In the case of alcohol, a typical test referred to as the blood alcohol content is administered to determine the level of intoxication that the driver has. There is a specific threshold that forms the basis of the criminality of the driver’s actions. Precisely, if the if the blood alcohol content of the driver exceeds this threshold, the driver is deemed to have committed a DUI offense and is therefore liable to any legal ramifications that are attributed to DUI. There have been several Supreme Court decisions regarding DUI in the recent past. One of the most notable Supreme Court DUI rulings regards the use of blood tests in determining an offender’s blood alcohol level. A blood test is indeed one of the most reliable ways of ascertaining a driver’s blood alcohol level but there have been various issues surrounding the use of this method especially with regard to the rights of the accused. In the recent case… Read More

Warrantless Blood Draw in DUI Investigation | United States Supreme Court Lets Decision Stand

In Missouri v. McNeely, the United States Supreme Court decided that a blood draw is a search which is protected under the Fourth Amendment. It was held that a forced blood draw, by itself, is not considered an exception to the warrant requirement. Up until this decision, the “exigent circumstances” exception dictated whether or not law enforcement could legally force a suspect to draw blood, if there was a risk of losing the DUI suspect’s blood alcohol content through natural dissipation in the body. The Missouri v. McNeely decision will stand for now; the United States Supreme Court has just announced that they will not be hearing an appeal from Colorado with the same issue in question; prosecutors argued that because of the natural dissipation of alcohol in the body, it should be allowed by officers to forcibly draw blood without a warrant. According to prosecutors, by the time it takes an officer to go through the process to obtain a warrant, there will be a loss of evidence as the BAC of the suspect slowly decreases. Jack Schaufele was involved in a car accident… Read More

Bautista v. State | DUI Manslaughter

DUI Manslaughter | Double Jeopardy? The Supreme Court of Florida is faced with a certified question “of great public importance” from the Fourth District regarding the decision of Bautista v. State: “DOES THE “A/ANY” TEST ADOPTED IN GRAPPIN V. STATE AND STATE V. WATTS AS THE METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE UNIT OF PROSECUTION FOR THE COMMISSION OF MULTIPLE PROSCRIBED ACTS IN THE COURSE OF A SINGLE EPISODE, PRECLUDE MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS FOR DUI MANSLAUGHTER WHERE MORE THAN ONE DEATH OCCURS IN A SINGLE ACCIDENT AS APPROVED IN MELBOURNE V. STATE?”  Background: Bautista v. State David Bautista was driving while intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol) when his motor vehicle crashed into another car, resulting in the death of both individuals that were in that car. In trial, Bautista was convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter. Mr. Bautista appealed, claiming the Florida statute does not allow multiple convictions of DUI manslaughter stemming from one single incident of DUI. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the convictions, citing Melbourne v. State, which held that multiple convictions from a single DUI did not violate the principles of double jeopardy. What is DUI Manslaughter? Section… Read More

Search & Seizure | Fourth Amendment

Search & Seizure The United States was founded on personal liberties. When America’s Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, they sought to protect the people from a villainous government. The Fourth Amendment allows us to live free from unreasonable, general searches performed by law enforcement officers and their agents. The United States Supreme Court has recognized the exclusionary rule as a potential remedy to defendants for evidence obtained by an unreasonable search or seizure. Under the exclusionary rule, the prosecution will not be able to use that illegally seized evidence against you at trial. Further, if illegally seized evidence leads law enforcement to additional evidence, the additional evidence is also subject to exclusion. The additional evidence is said to be the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Essentially, the law will not allow the prosecution to benefit from police misconduct. The Court has reiterated many times that society pays a heavy fine when the exclusionary rule is invoked; however the need to discourage law enforcement from acting in a tyrannical manner is paramount. Because the exclusionary rule was designed to punish and discourage police misconduct, when an… Read More

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel | Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 An appeal based on the Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850, is an appeal of last resort. It is used when all other appeals have been exhausted. This appeal is a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, in which the defense attorney was unprepared, or incompetent in representing the client. An appeal of this type suggests that if it weren’t for the incompetent attorney, the end-result of the case would have been different; for this appeal to be effective, the appellant must substantiate this claim. The United States Supreme Court decision of Strickland v. Washington established the standard to determine the legitimacy of the claim of ineffective assistance: “First, the defendant must show that counsel’s performance was deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the “counsel” guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment. Second, the defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. This requires showing that counsel’s errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is… Read More

Child Neglect | Gun in Toddler’s Mouth

Video of Toddler with Gun in Mouth Parents Arrested | Child Neglect & Criminal Recklessness Parents from Evansville, Indiana, are facing charges of criminal recklessness and child neglect after police found a video of their one-year-old child placing a gun in her mouth, which police later identified as a .40-caliber handgun. According to the report, a man can be heard saying “pow”, and encouraging the child to do the same. Michael Barnes was arrested after attempting to sell a gun to an undercover police officer that he met online, which then led to the discovery of the video on the phone. It is still unclear whether or not police legally obtained the video from the cell phone; according to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Riley v. California, police need to obtain a warrant to go through the contents of a suspect’s phone. If the video was illegally obtained, a criminal defense attorney may file a motion to suppress the evidence due to an illegal search or seizure. Assuming there was no error on the police’s part, the video will be used against Michael Barnes during… Read More

Mistaken Police Officer

Mistaken Police Officer Now An Exception to Unreasonable Search The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a police officers good faith reasonable mistake on the law does not run afoul of the 4th Amendment to the constitution that bans unreasonable searches and seizures. In Heien v. North Carolina, the Court in a 8-1 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts that searches and seizures based on an officer’s reasonable misunderstanding of the facts has been permissible for a some time. Roberts stated that same reasoning should apply to mistaken interpretations of the law. In a case from North Carolina based on a 2009 traffic stop from a broken brake light, the court expanded further into the erosion of our fourth Amendment protections of civil liberties. A police officer pulled a car over for a broken brake light not realizing the state law allowed only a single working light, which this car had. Sgt. Matt Darisse conducted the traffic stop of the vehicle that Nicholas Hein had been sleeping in the back seat as his friend drove. Hein, who was the cars owner, agreed to a… Read More