People convicted of crimes often believe they have no further recourse. In some cases, however, they may have grounds for arguing that their conviction should be vacated. They must do so within the time constraints established by law, however, otherwise, their request may be denied as untimely, as illustrated in a recent Florida ruling in which the court denied a defendant’s request to vacate his bank fraud and identity theft convictions. If you are accused of committing a white collar crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should consult a Tampa white collar crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was indicted by a federal jury for aiding and abetting bank fraud and aiding and abetting identity theft. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the identity theft offense via a plea agreement; as part of the agreement, he waived the right to appeal his sentence. The defendant was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Over two years later, he filed a motion to vacate his conviction and sentence.

Timeliness of Post-Conviction Motions

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion as untimely. The court explained that pursuant to the AEDPA (the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), a person serving a sentence in a federal prison can move to correct, vacate, or set aside their sentence within a one-year period. Continue Reading ›

Criminal defendants will typically try to obtain any evidence that they can offer in their defense prior to proceeding to trial. Despite their best efforts, however, they may not be able to unearth all evidence in their favor until after their conviction. Fortunately, the law permits people convicted of criminal offenses to seek postconviction relief if they discover new evidence after the completion of their trial. Recently, a Florida court discussed postconviction claims based on new evidence in a case in which the defendant was convicted of battery. If you are charged with battery or another violent offense, it is smart to meet with a Tampa violent crime defense lawyer to discuss your potential defenses.

Factual Background

It is reported that in 2007, the defendant was convicted of battery, which was a misdemeanor, and aggravated battery causing significant bodily harm using a weapon, which was a felony. As he was a prison releasee reoffender, he was sentenced to thirty years in prison for the felony offense. In 2022, he filed a motion for postconviction relief based on newly discovered evidence. The court summarily denied his motion, after which he appealed.

Postconviction Relief Due to Newly Discovered Evidence

On appeal, the court found that the court erred in denying the defendant’s motion without considering the defendant’s evidence. As such, it reversed the underlying ruling and remanded the matter to the lower court for an evidentiary hearing. The court explained that it reviewed summary denials of claims for postconviction relief de novo. Continue Reading ›

The United States Constitution includes numerous provisions that protect criminal defendants. Among other things, it dictates that they must be mentally competent before they can be tried for a criminal offense. Thus, if a criminal matter proceeds to trial despite concerns regarding a defendant’s mental competence, it may constitute a violation of their constitutional rights. Recently a Florida court explained what evidence a defendant must produce to show that a trial court harbored a bona fide doubt about their competence in a case in which the defendant appealed his sentence following his conviction for producing child pornography.  If you are charged with a sex offense, it is smart to meet with a dedicated Tampa sex crime defense lawyer to evaluate your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with two counts of producing child pornography. The case proceeded to trial, and he was convicted. The court subsequently sentenced him to 720 months in prison. The defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the trial court committed an abuse of discretion by denying his motion to undergo a competency evaluation and hearing.

Establishing a Bona Fide Doubt About a Defendant’s Mental Competence

The court declined to adopt the defendant’s reasoning and denied his appeal. In doing so, it explained that it reviewed a district court’s failure to order a competency hearing under the abuse of discretion standard. Continue Reading ›

It is not uncommon for a person to be charged with multiple crimes following a single criminal episode. While the government can convict a person for more than one offense after one criminal transaction, it cannot violate their protections against double jeopardy. Thus, if their convictions constitute multiple convictions for the same crime, they may be unlawful. Recently, a Florida court assessed whether a defendant’s convictions for burglary and grand theft of a motor vehicle violated double jeopardy, ultimately ruling that it did not. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should speak to a skilled Tampa theft charge defense lawyer as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant, a juvenile, was charged with burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and grand theft of a vehicle. The charges against him stemmed from a single incident. An adjudicatory hearing was held, after which the court determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the charged offenses. The defendant appealed, arguing that because burglary was a lesser included offense of grand theft of a motor vehicle, his convictions violated double jeopardy.

Assessing Whether Multiple Convictions Violate Double Jeopardy

The court disagreed with the defendant’s arguments and affirmed his convictions. The court explained that the dispositive issue in determining whether multiple convictions arising from the same criminal transaction violate double jeopardy is whether the legislature intended to authorize separate penalties for the two crimes. Continue Reading ›

In Florida, it is a crime to leave the scene of a car crash if the collision causes an accident or death. As demonstrated in a recent case, however, the act of doing so only constitutes a single crime. In other words, a person cannot be charged more than once with an offense related to leaving the scene of an accident, as multiple charges that stem from a singular incident may be considered a double jeopardy violation. If you were charged with one or more crimes following a car accident, it is prudent to speak to an assertive Tampa criminal defense attorney to assess what arguments you may be able to set forth in your favor.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was driving his car along a Florida highway and had one passenger in his vehicle. He struck another car, resulting in the sudden death of the driver. Additionally, the impact caused the second vehicle to crash into a third vehicle that was occupied by a passenger and a driver. The two people in the third vehicle and the defendant’s passenger all suffered injuries. The defendant left the scene of the accident, however, without trying to render aid to any of the injured parties.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes arising out of the accident, including one count of leaving the scene of an accident that involved death, and three counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. A jury convicted him as charged, after which he appealed, arguing that his convictions violated double jeopardy. Continue Reading ›

State and federal governments have the authority to issue punishments for criminal offenses. They cannot do so in a manner that is deemed unusual or cruel, however. As such, if a criminal defendant believes a sentence violates their Eighth Amendment rights against unusual and cruel punishment, they may be able to successfully argue that it should be vacated. Recently, a Florida court discussed what constitutes an unjust sentence in an opinion issued in a sex crime case. If you were charged with a sex offense, it is smart to meet with a dedicated Tampa sex crime defense lawyer to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with three counts of possessing and producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges in exchange for dismissal of the third. The defendant’s plea agreement advised he faced a sentence of between 15 and 30 years imprisonment in total, followed by a term of supervised release from five years to life.

Allegedly, the defendant requested a sentence of 240 months imprisonment based on his history of PTSD, his childhood sexual abuse, and his service as a police officer and in the military. The court sentenced him to a total of 480 months imprisonment,  however, followed by supervised release for the remainder of his life. He appealed, arguing that his sentence constituted a unusual and cruel punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Continue Reading ›

Under Florida law, there are many crimes that can be committed in multiple ways. In such instances, the prosecution only has to prove that the defendant engaged in the behavior set forth in one method to obtain a conviction. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court, in which it affirmed the defendant’s conviction for lewd and lascivious battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a sex crime, it is smart to hire a skilled Tampa sex crime defense attorney to help you formulate compelling arguments.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with three counts of sexual battery on an individual under twelve years old. The grounds for the charges were acts that occurred in 2002, involving the defendant’s then nine year old daughter. Following a trial, the jury convicted the defendant of lewd and lascivious battery, a lesser included offense. He appealed on numerous grounds, including the arguments that he could not be convicted of an uncharged offense and that the prosecution failed to establish the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, rendering his conviction improper. The appellate court rejected his arguments and affirmed his conviction.

Elements of Lewd and Lascivious Battery

The appellate court explained that lewd and lascivious battery is a permissive lesser included offense of the crime of sexual battery. Jury instructions regarding permissive lesser included offenses are appropriate and permissible if the allegations of the greater offense contain each of the elements of the lesser offense, and the evidence offered at trial would support a verdict on the lesser offense. Continue Reading ›

 Pursuant to Florida law, courts can impose greater penalties on people who are convicted of crimes if they were previously incarcerated. Only certain offenses allow for the imposition of increased sentences, though, and if a court improperly interprets the sentencing laws, the sentence imposed may be illegal. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the appellate court reversed a trial court ruling denying a defendant’s motion for resentencing. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand what sentences you may face if convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault. After the trial court imposed its sentence, the defendant moved to amend it, arguing that it was illegal in that he was improperly sentenced as a prison releasee reoffender in violation of Florida law. The trial court denied his motion, after which the defendant appealed. The appellate court summarily affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the defendant moved for a rehearing.

There are strict laws regulating the healthcare professions to ensure that people working in medical fields make ethical decisions regarding patient care. For example, federal law prohibits parties from offering or accepting healthcare kickbacks, and professionals that engage in schemes to do so may be convicted of conspiracy. Recently, a Florida court explained what evidence is needed to support a conspiracy conviction in a case in which numerous healthcare providers appealed their convictions. If you are charged with conspiracy or another white-collar offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa white-collar crime defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendants, a doctor, pharmacist, and recruiter, were indicted for numerous crimes related to conspiring to receive healthcare kickbacks and paying and receiving such kickbacks. The matter proceeded to trial, and they were each convicted as charged. Following sentencing, they each appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the conspiracy charges against them.

Most people charged with a crime assert their innocence. In some cases, though, a person will choose to plead guilty for various reasons. While criminal defendants have the right to enter a guilty plea if they do, the courts take great measures to ensure that their plea is made voluntarily and with full knowledge of its consequences. Thus, it can be difficult for a defendant to establish that they did not understand the implications of their choice. This was illustrated in a recent Florida carjacking case in which the court rejected the defendant’s challenge to his guilty plea. If you are accused of committing a theft crime, it is smart to speak to a Tampa theft crime defense attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with carjacking and aiding and abetting carjacking. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was convicted. After he was sentenced, he appealed, arguing, among other things, that his guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily. The appellate court rejected his arguments and affirmed his convictions.

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