As a criminal case grows cold, pressure on police can intensify to find someone -- anyone -- to charge. This is particularly true in instances of shocking, violent crimes. The public fear that a violent individual is out on the loose can sometimes, unfortunately, turn into a rush to convict. This fear is understandable, but cannot be used as an excuse to neglect a defendant's rights in court.
Last week's post about an episode in which Sarasota police pulled over and searched a vehicle that had driven through a gas station after dark raised a question regarding the rights of police to conduct a search. We noted that such a search required probable cause, but just what is the meaning of probable cause within a criminal law context?
Last week, two men drove their car into a Sarasota gas station after midnight, when it was closed. Police were alerted to a vehicle acting suspiciously and intercepted it after it left the station. They proceeded to conduct a search. The search allegedly turned up a number of devices known as skimmers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gathers statistics on traffic accidents, and included in the information they maintain is data sorted by age group. The statistics related to teenage drivers aged 16 to 19 are troubling.
Last month on our blog, we noted a story involving a Florida man's use of a polygraph test to try to clear himself from accusations of sexual misconduct. While the story helped to highlight the relatively limited situational use of the polygraph test, some readers may be left with questions about the accuracy of a polygraph in the criminal law context: is the test infallible? What happens if errors are made? To answer these questions, we'll turn to the American Polygraph Association, with the understanding that the information is intended to be general in nature only and not specific legal advice.
When Florida residents think of airports, they likely think of tourists, business people, lots of luggage and domestic and international travel. One thing you don't think about, at least when it comes to travelers, are guns. While it is legal for airline passengers to travel with handguns, there are specific requirements that must be met. Failure to meet these could land an individual with a criminal charge and serious penalties.