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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

People v. LaValle

Supreme Court

People v. LaValle | Facts of the Case Background On Sunday, May 31st 1997, Cynthia Quinn while taking her morning jog, allegedly found Stephen LaValle urinating by the side of the road and yelled at him. This action completely angered LaValle who then followed her into the woods where he raped and murdered her with a screw driver he apparently found on her during the offense. He stabbed her 73 times before leaving the scene of the crime. He was arrested two days later because the samples found on Quinn’s body matched his DNA, and an eye witness had placed him as the last person seen with Mrs. Quinn. LaValle, despite having no legal training, defended himself in court because he had previously had a falling out with his two attorneys because they wanted to proceed with the case differently. In his argument, Lavalle stated that juror number 16 was biased and had stated that they would convict him even before the hearing began. He also urged that the emotional testimony given by Cynthia’s husband was inappropriate and only served to sway the jury into… Read More

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

supreme cour decision | voter must show ID to vote, not unconstitutional

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

pending DUI Legislation | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

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

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

bac test in a dui investigation

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

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

dorsett florida supreme court ruling

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?

Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney Kenneth Padowitz explores the various privileges against incriminating testimony when facing a criminal charge.

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

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

DUI Attorney

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

Fair DUI Flyer

Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer

For a couple months now, various news stories have been published and Youtube videos posted, showing drivers passing through DUI checkpoints. Rather than submitting to the normal inconveniences of the police officer’s demands, they instead pull up to the checkpoint and dangle a Ziploc baggie by a string from the top of their closed window. Inside of the baggie contains their driver’s license, proof of insurance, registration, and the Fair DUI Flyer, which was created by Warren Redlich, a Boca Raton criminal defense and DUI attorney. On the front of the flyer states, “I Remain Silent. No Searches. I Want My Lawyer.” In the video, the officers wave the drivers through the checkpoint after examining and then returning the contents of the baggie. Warren Redlich claims he created the Fair DUI Flyer to protect innocent individuals from being arrested for DUI, he states, “People don’t realize that innocent people get arrested for drunk driving; it happens a lot.” Various law enforcement agencies have spoken out against the use of this flyer; in their eyes, it is just a way for drunk drivers to avoid an… Read More