Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense Attorney

Road rage and guns can be a lethal combination here in South Florida. The frequency of these incidents has more than doubled since 2014.

Florida and Texas which are states with the largest number of relaxed gun laws, and concealed carry permit holders lead the way according to the available data.

Just last month a Fort Lauderdale man was arrested after being accused of pointing a loaded gun at the passenger of another vehicle while driving on the US1 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.

Thankfully, in this case, no shots were fired.
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This article is about the case of a Clearwater High School teacher named Cara Ryan who admitted to the shooting death of her ex-husband, John Rush, a retired Sergeant for the St. Petersburg Police Department.

You can find the lead-in to this blog post on my Website by clicking here

Ms. Ryan was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in March, 2015. Investigators didn’t believe that Ryan lured Rush to the apartment with the intent to kill him.

Her bail was originally set at $500,000 but was cut in half by the same Circuit Court Judge a few days later.

The judge stated that although the evidence against Ms. Ryan was “pretty significant,” her family ties in the area made her a low flight risk. She was released on bail the following morning, about a week after her initial arrest.

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A crime that was committed more than a specific quantified number of years ago may be subject to a statute of limitation which is basically a clock making sure prosecutions don’t move forward in an attempt to prosecute a crime based on physical evidence or eyewitness testimony that may have deteriorated in its reliability over the passage of time.

After the time period of the particular statute has run out, the accused, for all intents and purposes cannot be prosecuted for the alleged crime.

Certain crimes do not have a statute of limitation. A criminal homicide, for example, has none. Some states vary in which crimes are covered by this statute such as various violent crimes, sex offenses involving minors, kidnapping, arson, forgery and other offenses.

Last week, in a Charleston, South Carolina District Courthouse a Federal jury heard the startling recorded confession of Dylan Roof who when questioned by FBI Agents simply said in a calm manner that “I went to that church in Charleston and I did it.”

Roof is accused of slaughtering nine African American churchgoers during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Throughout questioning by FBI agents, Roof also admitted that he considered himself to be a white supremacist and was motivated after reading about the Trevon Martin case in Florida as well as ultimately deciding to take revenge because blacks were raping white women.

With less than two weeks until the American public will cast their votes for our next President, cases of tempers reaching a fever pitch are being reported by the press as well as the police.

This election has already demonstrated acts of extreme passion resulting in violence at Donald Trump rallies where individuals have been detained by security as well as local police and federal agencies.

Late last year a Black Lives Matter protester was tackled, punched and kicked at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. But no complaint was made and no charges were filed.

If you or someone close to you is accused of any type of the many serious types of charges associated with a homicide it is essential to consult with knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who specializes in these types of cases at the earliest possible time before or after charges are filed.

Although innocent until proven guilty, it is conclusive by his own statements to detectives that Andres Diaz shot and killed Ricky Iglesias during an incident of road rage which occurred on a street in Southwest Miami in the twilight hours late last month. The single gunshot wound to Iglesias’ chest ultimately led to his death.

A conviction for a second degree murder charge tried as a first degree felony can lead to a sentence of up to not less than 25 years in prison. The prosecution may also request a lengthier sentence depending on the circumstances, including life in prison.

In 2014, new laws regarding the crime of human trafficking were passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

The criminal aspect of these new laws were tested for the first time earlier last month (May 2016) in a case involving a West Park man accused of operating a prostitution and drug ring.

It took a jury a little more than one hour to convict Gerard Nelson of the crime based on the framework of the “up until now” untested law.

When police responded to a 911 call made by an agitated North Miami woman whose husband was murdered while playing with the couple’s 20 month old son the previous month, they found the bullet riddled body of Ilam Nissim who had been shot numerous times by the 911 caller, Janepsy Mesa Carballo.

Carballo, 35, first called police emergency to report a battery, but called again a short time later telling the dispatcher that she shot an intruder.

When police arrived at the scene, she told them that she was in the process of transporting furniture out of her home located on NW 12 Avenue in North Miami, while packing to move. When she went back into the house to get more items she found Nissim suddenly appearing in a hallway. She went on to say that Nissim grabbed her by her blouse; ripping it, and demanded to know the whereabouts of a warehouse where her late husband stored his possessions. She explained to police that she then watched him turn his head and body in a threatening manner, leading her to believe that he was reaching for a gun. Believing her life to be in danger, she ran into a room of the house to retrieve a gun of her own and shot him six times. She went on to say that she feared for her safety and the welfare of her son, believing Nissim had intentions of harming them.

It was more than twenty years ago when Lynne Friend went to meet her estranged husband to pick up a check that was due for child support. After that evening, the then thirty-five year old Lynne Friend vanished.

For eighteen of those twenty years, her ex-husband, Clifford Friend lived his life as a free man and continued with his life. He remarried in 1995 and together with his new wife they raised his son Christian the product of his first marriage. He opened a pawn shop and the couple bought a home in Pembroke Pines. Although he was the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance, charges against him were never filed.

But in March of 2012, a Grand Jury indicted Friend for the charge of first degree murder in his wife’s death. Over the years, the case had gone before Grand Juries three previous times but it wasn’t until the latest review that an Indictment was returned.

Back then, after making his first appearance before a Miami-Dade judge, the Lighthouse Point man was denied bail. At the time, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office introduced new evidence that apparently made the difference although Lynne’s body was never found.

Investigators asserted that they had new evidence that was gathered during the course of their investigation stating that they had confirmation of Mr. Friend and Alan Gold (one of his former friends) throwing an oversized bundle from Gold’s boat that was drifting off the coast of Miami Beach in the area of Government Cut. The information was provided by U.S. Customs officials who told investigators that they witnessed the act on the last night Lynne Friend was seen, approximately one hour after Friend spoke with his wife about picking up the payment.

The boat was later searched revealing a quantity of light gauge rope and two cement blocks. However, in spite of a considerable search of the area, no human remains or evidence of a large package or container of any type was ever found in the water or neighboring area.

The prosecution’s case hinged on Gold’s testimony who until recently remained silent. He was offered immunity in the case in exchange for becoming a witness against his former friend. He stated that he promised Mr. Friend that he would never reveal the episode that transpired that night and had no intentions of doing so. But his fear of being prosecuted as an accessory to the crime caused him to accept the immunity deal. At trial, in his own words when he was asked why he decided to testify he told the prosecutor: “Only because you put me in a box and I don’t have any choice.”

Prior to making that statement, during questioning the prosecutor asked Gold if he helped Friend on the night in question by throwing a parcel off a boat into the water. His answer was in the affirmative. The prosecutor’s then asked if he suspected what was in the bag that was thrown overboard to which he responded definitively and without hesitation “His wife, Lynne.”

During further questioning Gold stated that Friend told him that he strangled his ex-wife during a heated argument and he only agreed to help his friend get rid of his ex-wife’s body to keep him from getting arrested and sent to jail leaving their son, Christian without either parent. His son Christian was five years old at the time of his mother’s presumed murder. Gold went on to say “I basically didn’t want to see the kid fatherless.”

Friend had previously lost a long bitter custody battle and his ex-wife was preparing to leave the state with their son. This apparently infuriated Friend.

The two week long first-degree murder trial that concluded in July resulted with the jury deliberating for five hours before returning a verdict of guilty of the lesser charge of second degree murder.

Before the sentence of life in prison was announced last month, Friend’s current wife Janet told the judge that her husband was a good man. “His smile, his guidance and his presence as a father will be missed. I’m requesting you to consider that he had no criminal history and was an outstanding citizen, phenomenal father and wonderful husband.” The couple had been married for nineteen years.

His son Christian, now twenty-five also stood by his father saying that his father was innocent of the crime. “He raised us to know the difference between right and wrong. I know he loved me. He loved too much to hurt me by taking my mother from me. After sitting here for weeks, I have never been more sure of his innocence.”

But Lynn Friend’s former fiancé, Ed O’Dell had a completely opposite viewpoint. After the sentence was imposed he told reporters that he though Friend should have received the death penalty.

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Otto Wright’s first trial for felony first-degree murder ended in a mistrial when a jury couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. But his second trial ended with a guilty verdict when the previously self-proclaimed “look out” admitted that he participated in the robbery of a West Palm Beach Chick-Fil-A restaurant.

Nicholas Megrath, the 18-year old manager of the restaurant that was located at the now non-operational West Palm Beach Mall was shot and killed by one of the other culprits. But Wright’s taped confession stated that although he watched the robbery unfold and was a part of it he didn’t fire the fatal gunshot. There was no physical evidence placing him at the scene but after a seven hour interrogation by police Wright confessed to the robbery naming two of his accomplices as Terrance Watson and Darrell Howard. Watson and Howard were never accused by police or charged with the crime. A little more than five-hundred dollars in total was stolen from the store.

Wright’s lawyer argued that the confession obtained by police was given under duress and they manipulated his client by lying to him when they told him that they had physical evidence implicating him which was found at the crime scene. They also played a good cop, bad cop routine by utilizing the help of an officer who knew Wright for many years and had previously assumed the role of a father figure to him in order to a coerce Wright into confessing to his role in the robbery.

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