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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

Arsonist whose lawyer’s pants caught on fire jailed

Arsonist whose lawyer’s pants caught on fire jailed

A Miami arson case that attracted far-reaching media interest after a bizarre incident in court where the defense attorney’s pants caught fire has ended with the arsonist being sentenced to serve 364 days in jail. Little was known about the case outside the Miami courtroom until the lawyer’s pants burst into flames. The defendant Claudy Charles accepted a plea deal which will include five years of probation. The fire fiasco had led to the suspected being granted a fresh trial after he had been convicted in March. He decided to take the plea deal in the new trial. The attorney was also stood down from the case. The fire incident is still under investigation with investigators trying to figure out whether it was planned to sway the opinion of the jury or it was just an incredible coincidence that it occurred as he tried to convince the jury that his client’s vehicle had caught fire accidentally. A hitherto low-profile case in Miami-Dade criminal court attracted widespread media attention on March 8 when the remarkable event took place. The defense attorney Stephen Gutierrez was making his… 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

The Impact of Criminal Charges on your Driving Privilege

driving and the law

Is driving a right or a privilege? In the State of Florida, driving is considered a privilege and not a right. A person’s driving privilege can be suspended, canceled or revoked for a number of reasons that can include (but are not limited to) failing to pay a ticket, failing to pay child support, or failing to attend traffic school. Who monitors my driving privilege? In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is the agency that monitors a persons driving privilege among other services. The Agency has several offices throughout the State of Florida. Can criminal charges and convictions impact my driving privilege? Yes. Contact with the Criminal Justice system can impact an individuals driving privilege. In some instances, this impact may be temporary or short term. However, there are circumstances in which the impact may be permanent. Can having a criminal conviction affect my privilege to drive? Yes. The legislature has determined that if you are adjudicated guilty of certain crimes, the DHSMV MUST suspended your driver’s license. That means that if a person is adjudicated guilty of a crime… Read More

Can You Break the Law in Virtual Reality?

virtual reality can you commit a crime? | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. | Criminal Attorney

Virtual reality is now becoming mainstream. What was once a popular topic for science fiction, virtual reality is now becoming – for lack of a better word, a reality. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens, Jaunt, One Plus, Sony PlayStation VR, and Google Cardboard are just a few of the popular VR headsets that are near release or currently available on the market. Eagle Flight allows you to fly over Paris in a virtual world. If that’s not your style, you can walk a tightrope between skyscrapers with The Walk. Still not your thing? – become a quarterback for your favorite football team with VR Sports Challenge. These are just a few things you can now do with a virtual reality headset. Consumers often report an extremely realistic experience thanks to the ever-increasing high resolution displays that are released each year. Some players of The Walk recall the difficulty one may face when it comes to taking that first step on the tight rope when you feel as if you are walking hundreds of feet in the air (despite them knowing that it is… Read More

Date Rape: What It Is, the Law and the Consequences

date rape is illegal | Kenneth Padowitz | Lawyer

Date Rape The difference between ‘date rape’ and standard ‘rape’ in the legal context is restricted to the legal meaning of the terms. Thus, they carry the same serious consequences. ‘Date rape’ is a specific form of rape where the victim knows the rapist, as opposed to the average idea that the perpetrator is a stranger to the victim. History The legal definition of rape has evolved over the years. According to common law, rape refers to the crime of having sexual intercourse without the consent of one of the participants. In time past, a required element of the definition of rape was physical force or threats of force. Currently, many states have eliminated this condition as a mandatory element of rape. The improved definition stipulates that rape occur when the perpetrator goes ahead to engage in sexual intercourse after the victim: Says “no” Refuses to give consent Is unable to consent due to physical or mental constraints that results from either being Physically disabled; or Under the influence of alcohol or drugs However, under common law, if the victim was the spouse of the… Read More

Florida “Murderabilia” and “Son of Sam” Laws

proceeds from crime son of sam law | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. | South Florida criminal Lawyer

It is the times really, crime fascinates our society, and the morbid curiosity for all things crime can be nauseating at extreme levels. The biggest culprits for the advance of this crime fascination are the media and cinema. Heinous crimes get plenty of media attention, prime networks fall over each other to get exclusives from daunting criminals, and American cinema makes a killing from crime-themed movies. However, beyond the crime-craze in the media and cinema, interest gets acute to the extent of people going to great lengths to collect criminal paraphernalia sold by imprisoned criminals. The fancy name for these criminal paraphernalia is “murderabilia.” The Term “Murderabilia” In general, “murderabilia” is a blanket term to describe artifacts (tools or substances) used or involved in a crime. However, the term may also refer to creative pieces, for example, paintings, books, or memoirs; produced by the criminal. The major reason behind collecting the creative items by the criminal is to get an enlightened take on the personality and mind pattern of the criminal, or to put it more plainly to understand the “twisted mind” of the criminal.… Read More

Boating and Intoxication

bui boating under the influence | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorney

The Position of the Law The dangers of driving while drunk take different forms. It may lead to bodily harm for the drunk individual or someone else; or destruction of property; losing your driver’s license; or worse, being slapped with a DUI charge. For purpose of clarity, DUI is the acronym for ‘Driving Under the Influence.’ A related term is DWI, short for ‘Driving While Impaired,’ which depending on the jurisdiction may either be a synonym of DUI or have a different meaning. In this article, the goal is to find out if DUI or DWI, regardless of its name, also applies to boating. If yes, then what are the consequences? The important question—Can I get breathalyzed on a boat?—also receives a thorough answer. Both state and federal laws frown on boating while intoxicated. However, state laws have different consequences for mixing boating and alcohol use. As expected, the consequences of boating under the influence are stiffer in states where boating is common (check out Florida’s statutes). Regardless, as is the case with driving under the influence of alcohol: Boating while drunk is unlawful, and… Read More

DWI: How It Affects Job Search

job search with a criminal record DUI | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A

A criminal record is a huge stain on your profile in the U.S, as it affects your future job prospects. Thankfully, more employers are taking a more lenient approach towards applicants with a DWI on their record. This is in addition to the encouraging fact that you may be able to dismiss a DWI from your record. Changing Times Once upon a time, only one in six hiring managers gave an employment letter to an applicant with a criminal record. Today, that stat is much better at one in two. The more liberal stance of employers cuts across the board. For example, while poor credit can still be a stigma, employers are not as judgmental as they used to be owing to the recession and scarcity of jobs. Nevertheless, while the trend is a laudable sign of better days ahead, you would want to keep your optimism in check. Baby boomers (older people) are still at the helm of affairs of the larger corporations. These individuals are a lot more traditional and conservative, and often fall into the class of employers who are particular about… Read More

DUI versus DWI

what is the difference between dui and dwi? | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. | DUI lawyer

So, Are They The Same? It is easy to use DUI and DWI as synonyms, seeing how often we use them and differing definitions between jurisdictions. However, they are distinct offenses that, in some jurisdictions, carry separate charges. What is DUI? First, the more common of the two; DUI is the acronym for “Driving Under the Influence.” Typically, it relates to driving a car while you are drunk after taking copious amounts of alcohol. Nonetheless, DUI is not exclusive to alcohol. It also covers being under the influence of drugs or medications. In some states, you need not be noticably drunk or visibly impaired. This is referred to as a per se offense. What it means is that, you only have to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or road with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% to receive a DUI charge. It really doesn’t matter if you are  slurring your words or not. Furthermore, more states are buying into the use of phrases such as “operating a vehicle” or “being in physical control of the vehicle” with the intention of widening the net of… Read More