During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment to giving you a safe and reliable place to receive legal services and advice is even more important to us.
The Florida Bar - Board Certified Badge
Martindale-Hubbell - AV Preeminent Badge
Super Lawyers - Michael B Cohen Badge

Suppression Hearings

When a person faces criminal charges, the state or government must present evidence to obtain a conviction. One powerful tool used to counter evidence are suppression hearings. These special types of hearings are usually conducted before criminal trials start and are used to exclude or suppress specific evidence from being used in the upcoming trial. The most common and effective reason to file a motion to exclude evidence is when the evidence was obtained or collected through the violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights. Here at Michael B. Cohen, P.A. we can take a deeper look around the circumstances of your charges to provide the best defense.

Process of Suppression Hearings

Criminal cases fall into generally two types of court systems – federal and state. Which court your case will fall under will depend on which court system has jurisdiction (the power to make legal decisions and judgements). Most states like Florida have broad jurisdiction and can hear cases regarding DUI cases, theft, assault, traffic offenses, etc. Even so, state courts are limited to just interpreting state law while federal courts hear a criminal case when there’s a violation in federal law. It’s important to hire an experienced and proven lawyer to handle your case in either scenario.

If you have been tried of a federal crime, your trial will likely be heard in one of these types of courts:

District Courts: 94 courts around the country where federal cases are tried

Exculpatory evidence in its simplest form is any favorable evidence for a defendant in a criminal case that can be used to prove their innocence. In United States law per Brady v. Maryland, a defendant MUST be disclosed by prosecutors of ALL evidence they have before the defendant accepts a guilty or not guilty plea. This requirement falls under a constitutional right of due process for a defendant. Exculpatory evidence is significant because it guarantees a person will face criminal punishment only if they commit a crime. This might seem like common sense but prior to this requirement, innocent people were being charged with crimes simply because the prosecution opted out in sharing evidence that proved a defendant’s innocence. Understanding this right is crucial to your case and can be significant in a successful appeal if you were convicted.

In the State of Florida, under Fla.R.Crim. P. 3.220(b)(4), the right to exculpatory evidence is protected under A Notice of Discovery. This notice triggers a duty from the prosecution to provide your attorney and defense team all evidence they have collected including police reports, witness testimonies, and other documents. Attorneys in the state of Florida are required to take a course in understanding and upholding this procedure.

A violation of exculpatory evidence is more commonly referred to as a Brady violation (referring to Brady v. Maryland case). The 3 elements a defendant must show are that the evidence:

The term post-conviction relief, commonly referred to as PCR, is a legal process in which a convicted individual can seek to vacate, set aside, or adjust their sentence. Compared to an appellate court, post-conviction relief is a broader analysis of all aspects of a case. This can include the legality of the sentence, counsel effectiveness, claims involving newly discovered evidence or the involuntariness of a plea, etc.

Federal Section 2255

With federal cases, 28 U.S.C. § 2255 can be used to request the U.S. District Court to vacate, correct, or set aside a sentencing. It is only available to those convicted and in custody (those in prison, probation, parole, or supervised release).

Giglio evidence refers to any information or material that may be used to impeach the credibility, testimony, or character of a prosecutor’s witness in a criminal case. In Giglio vs United States, John Giglio was convicted of using forged money orders with the assistance of Robert Taliento. The government, however, made a deal with Taliento to testify for them against Giglio in exchange for his immunity against prosecution. The jury and defense were unaware of this deal and ultimately Giglio was convicted. This deal was discovered after Giglio’s conviction and his defense team sought to overturn the jury’s decision based on the concealment from the government making Taliento’s testimony unreliable. In 1972, the case had reached the Supreme Court where they ruled that the failure to inform the jury on any agreements the government makes with any witness is a violation of a defendant’s due process rights, and therefore warranted a new trial.

Giglio evidence as a defense

Giglio evidence or material is a powerful tool to be aware of and use to defend your case or lead a successful post conviction appeal. An officer involved in a defendant’s arrest, for example, can be barred from testifying through a Giglio letter if the officer lacks integrity and credibility like concealing evidence in the past or any other misconduct. Other examples that must be presented by the prosecutor are:

The Heard v Depp trial sparked major news coverage and pop culture attention this year. The civil defamation case found Amber Heard guilty of all three claims against her while Depp was found guilty for one against him. After the verdict, Heard spoke out claiming the unfavorable depiction of her on social media played a part in skewing the jury’s decision. On July 1, 2022, Heard’s legal team filed a request with Judge Penny Azcarte to reject the jury’s verdict, dismiss the lawsuit, or order a retrial. It is unclear whether they will use social media influence as a defense. Nonetheless, a juror’s social media use and access can help make a case for an appeal on a conviction.

Remmer vs The United States

Criminal defendants have the right to due process. One imperative condition of due process is that a defendant must be granted a trial “by an impartial jury”. In the Supreme Court 1954 case of Remmer vs United States, they upheld that if any external information a juror or jury is exposed to related to the case results in bias for the jury, then it violates a defendant’s due process. In Remmer, a jury member was exposed to newspaper articles pertaining to their case. This called for a “Remmer hearing” where if a convicted party can prove a juror was improperly influenced or engaged in any misconduct, then a retrial can be granted. With the rise of social media, there is a boom in demand to use Remmer hearings towards any juror’s online engagement over a trial that might influence their decisions.

The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, simply referred to as RICO, was passed in 1970 to help prosecutors pursue charges against organized crime organizations such as mobs, gangs and cartels. Recently, even well-known celebrities have been charged through RICO for their alleged involvement with these types of organizations. In the United States, organized crime is generally defined as an enterprise looking for financial gain through illegal activities. But note, now these enterprises can be illegal or legal entities allowing prosecutors to use the law against everything from mobs to corporations to even politicians, With RICO, if a member is charged with a crime, prosecutors can then charge anyone else within that organization of a crime. Therefore, several members can be indicted for offenses they didn’t actually commit themselves. Nonetheless, we can help create a defense case for your innocence.

Crimes Included Under RICO

For an enterprise to be charged through RICO, there must be two violations within 10 years from the members. Some common crimes under RICO are listed below:

Recently in American news, gun violence has been an active discussion with politicians looking into many legal options to help curb it. One example being looked into is Florida’s red flag law through what is formally known as a Risk Protection Order. After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers passed a sweeping gun safety law allowing authorities to confiscate guns from those who pose a “significant danger” to themselves and others. Critics argue it violates second amendment laws while supporters believe it has saved an untold number of lives. With the recent uptick in gun violence headlines, there are talks to expand these laws. Regardless of the debate, understanding the red flag laws can be confusing, but important. Violation of these laws can bring a third-degree felony charge punishable with jail time and fines. Here at the law office of Michael B. Cohen, we can provide a clear understanding and the best defense against any charges.

How does the red flag law work?

Once a safety issue has been established, usually, a law enforcement officer or agency will then file a petition known as a Risk Protection Order. According to Florida Statute Section 790.401, the petition must:

Millions of tourists flock to Florida throughout the year for its enjoyable warm weather and unique range of fun in the sun. Whether you’re here for spring break, a girls trip, or just to do a little relaxing, too much fun in a state you’re not familiar with can be a recipe for disaster when you land on the wrong side of the law. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, liquor law violation, trespassing, shoplifting, or any other criminal charge while on vacation, here at Michael B. Cohen Law we want to offer the best legal services to resolve your matter.

How do I handle an out of state arrest?

So you’ve been arrested while on vacation in Florida, what do you do next? It’s imperative that you take the situation seriously and remain proactive as possible. The state where the alleged crime took place will have jurisdiction to prosecute. So just because you live in another state does not mean it won’t affect you. In fact, ignoring these charges can result in a warrant for your arrest for the state you live in. Also, note you can be prosecuted for doing something in Florida that isn’t necessarily illegal in your home state. The first step you should take is to hire a local lawyer for the state you were arrested in so they can best handle your legal circumstance.

Under federal and Florida laws, it is unlawful to possess counterfeit currency and to use it with the intent of defrauding a retailer, merchant or individual. The federal government and agencies like the Secret Service seize millions of dollars in fake currency each year. A recipient handling multiple and large transactions are usually trained to prove the validity of the currency they’re receiving. If it is suspected that the currency is indeed fake, they may call the police and you could be charged with a forgery crime. These charges carry severe and heavy fines with lengthy potential prison sentences. You will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to provide you with the best legal defense to prove you had no knowledge that the currency was fake.

Florida Statute 831.15

Below is the Florida Statute explaining the illegality of counterfeiting money:

Contact Information