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Supreme Court Issues Decision on Felon Firearm Transfer Policy

felon in possession of firearm | Broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

Just recently, a longstanding debate on the issue of felon’s gun transfer rights has been settled. It can be recalled that gun possession and transfer rights of convicted individuals have been the highlight of some legal battles. According to the US Supreme Court, there is a specific federal law that prevents felons from owning and selling guns. However, an exception clause gives them a bit of leeway. They are allowed to transfer gun rights to third parties on the condition that they will waive direct or indirect influence on the items sold. Gun Ownership by Florida State Convicts Florida state laws clearly explain the rights of convicts on gun ownership. After they have served their time in jail, their rights to own any type of weapon and ammunition will not be automatically restored. This right must be granted by the Office of Clemency of the state covering the Offender Review division. When a clemency decision has been issued, an ex-convict will get his or her weapons rights back. There are efforts to make applications for clemency and rights restoration procedure easier. Such procedures used to… Read More

Faulty Instructions for Juries Lead to Plea Deals and Retrials in Florida

misinterpretation of laws - broward criminal lawyer kenneth padowitz

The way a law is interpreted is much more important than the said law itself. In case that a law is written confusingly, the jury might misinterpret the law and make decisions that were not intended by the author of the law. Due to that, a criminal defendant might receive a faulty verdict. A criminal might be freed or an innocent man might be punished. Florida has been a prime witness in such faults. For 15 years, almost 100 attempted murder and/or murder convictions have been scrapped due to the state’s faultily written Manslaughter by Act. Most of the convictions have resulted to plea agreements and new trials. The Problematic Manslaughter by Act Manslaughter by act is an event wherein one person murdered another through an unlawful action against the victim, but the person who killed did not have any intentions of killing. For example: Two men are in a fistfight. Man A punches Man B, and Man B falls on the ground, which resulted to Man B’s head hitting the floor and dying of brain injury and other complications. Hence, Man A will be… Read More

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

prison sentence fit the crime? | Broward Criminal Lawyer Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

Bored, alone, and bound to a wheelchair due to an illness, Ronald, who is already in his fifties, spends most of his time indoors. He is a fairly good and responsible guy, so occasionally, a family member, neighbors, and friends would drop by to check on him, help tidy up his scruffy apartment and give him food and groceries. However, because there was very little to do and he was so bored, he spent most of his time surfing the internet. Because the internet is a world without boundaries, he eventually explored adult pornography and started looking at teenage models and child pornography. He then met someone online whom he exchanged files with on child pornography, not knowing that his activities are already being monitored. He was arrested and was charged with a criminal case for possessing and distributing adult pornography files. It was an automatic five years imprisonment. Now, he is housed in a federal prison under special housing conditions because he is bound in a wheelchair. And because of his illness, he is also undergoing expensive medical services. All of these expenses are… Read More

Child-Abuse Testimonies: Not Covered By the Confrontation Clause

child testimony - confrontation clause | Broward Criminal Lawyer | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

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

Embezzlement On Hollywood Insurance Company, Two Nabbed

accused embezzlement | broward criminal lawyer | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

Two women from a Hollywood insurance company were arrested for stealing more than $24,578. Giovanna Corina Rodriguez, 31 years old from Hollywood and Nadelie Haston, 41 years old from Pembroke Pines were accused of stealing money that was meant for A AAACE Underwriters Inc. and were arrested last Wednesday. The police said that the two were accepting cash premium payments from customers. They also found out that they have been doing it since May 2014. The police also added that these two women, after receiving the payments, gained access into the insurance company’s computer system. After acquiring access, they falsified the information in the database and indicated that the payments had been received by the insurance company while pocketing some of the money. However, the deposit amounts fell short compared to the recorded amounts, the detectives said. To prove whether they were guilty or innocent, an investigation had been conducted. The police asked several customers of the A AAACE Underwriters Inc. Insurance Company who made payment to the two women accused as a part of the investigation. According to some of the customers, they gave… Read More

Prison Escapees and the Right to Use Deadly Force

prison escapee and lethal force? Broward Criminal Lawyer Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

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

jailhouse informant testimony - should it be trusted? | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

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?

inmate access to the internet | Broward criminal lawyer | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

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

Police Roadside Stop Hell – Not so Fast says U.S. Supreme Court

Intentionally Prolonged police traffic stops so they can wait for drug-sniffing dogs were a nice try but not kosher if you are following the United States Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court called a Foul for law enforcement to engage in prolonged vehicle stops on the side of the road, which is equivalent to an arrest without probable cause – the bare legal minimum for an arrest. In Rodriguez v. United States, Justice Ruth Ginsburg wrote for the majority in a 6 to 3 vote: “A police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” The police overreach began on a midnight ride through the quaint state of Nebraska. Dennys Rodriguez driving his Mercury Mountaineer allegedly veered onto the shoulder of a state highway, unfortunately into the watchful gaze of Nebraska’s finest. Officer Morgan Struble pulled the car over, otherwise known as performing a routine traffic stop. Such a stop included running a records check and questioning the driver and passenger. Mr. Rodriguez was then issued a written warning. The stop was… Read More

Justice System Punishment In The Toilet

 The Corrections system is Broken. Mandatory Minimum Sentences are a bad idea. Total Incarceration does not work. – So Says Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Two United States Supreme Court Justices, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, gave testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee on March 23rd, 2015. Justice Kennedy called the corrections system in many respects “broken”. He found lawyers to be ignorant on this corrections or punishment aspect of the justice system. “I think, Mr. Chairman, that the corrections system is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood institutions we have in our entire government. In law school, I never heard about corrections. Lawyers are fascinated with the guilt/innocence adjudication process. Once the adjudication process is over, we have no interest in corrections. Doctors know more about the corrections system and psychiatrists than we do. Nobody looks at it. California, my home state, had 187,000 people in jail at a cost of over $30,000 a prisoner. compare the amount they gave to school children, it was about $3,500 a year. Now, this is 24-hour care and so this is apples and oranges in a way.… Read More