Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The paper reports this morning that crime rates in Tampa Florida as in most of the rest of the nation drifted lower this year, something of a surprise to every Clearwater Criminal Attorneys as the number of Floridians who are incarcerated continues to rise. I'll stop for a moment for any criminal defense attorneys, fond colleagues and friends, to wipe their eyes before they try to finish reading this sentence. There, there brighten up! It's all in what you define as "serious crime."

Governor Bush suggests that it was his policies of more jail cells and long term sentences that are the immediate cause of the fall of serious crime. But new studies show the truth that Florida's prison and criminal justice system has failed to deter crime despite the use of cocaine going down in Florida as unlawful prescription fraud drug use rises, because Florida fails to do anything effective as Europe has with drug decriminalization
And it is true that his effective leadership included the appointmant of the man who for years ran the brutal Florida prison system and who now faces Federal prison himself having just pled guilty to bribery in Federal Court. One might think that the Governor is correct, that it was his policies that forced down serious crime, if his policies in Florida might somehow have contributed to the fall in serious crime in places as far flung as New York City and San Francisco.

Yet our smiling Governor fails to note that "serious crime" is defined as violent crime and does not encompass the escalation of other very destructive crimes such as Identity Theft. Identity Theft is especially pernicious, bringing financial havoc and disorder while ruining the lives of those it touches.

Clearly the rate of serious crime falling in the United States is due to an aging population and a reasonably good economy. But it may also have something to do with the drug culture that has gone from crack cocaine and the robberies and burglaries that sustained cocaine use to the much more deliberative crimes caused by crystal methamphetamine users who often turn to nonviolent crimes such as Identity Theft, which has been defined as not serious by our government. Every crime is serious to the the family of those charged, if you've been charged with a serious crime call a Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer to help defend you.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Sometimes even the Best Clearwater Defense Lawyers can't agree to be cordial. One angry and fed up federal judge in the Middle District of Florida which includes St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater and Tampa Bay, recently found a unique but not quite new form of alternate dispute resolution for two bickering attorneys unable and unwilling to agree to a location for depositions to be taken. The judge ordered (see below) the two attorneys to meet in front of the courthouse and to engage in one game of Rock, Paper, Scissors and for the winner to decide where the depostions would be held.

Perhaps this would be an excellent way to resolve more of our civil and criminal legal disputes. Here's the gist of the Order:
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to designate location of a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition (Doc. 105). Upon consideration of the Motion – the latest in a series of Gordian knots that the parties have been unable to untangle without enlisting the assistance of the federal courts – it is
ORDERED that said Motion is DENIED.
 Instead, the Court will fashion a new form of alternative dispute resolution, to wit: at 4:00 P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006, counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties. 
If counsel cannot agree on a neutral site, they shall meet on the front steps of the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse, 801 North Florida Ave., Tampa, Florida 33602. Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of "rock, paper, scissors." The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition to be held somewhere in Hillsborough County during the period July 11-12, 2006. If either party disputes the outcome of this engagement, an appeal may be filed and a hearing will be held at 8:30 A.M. on Friday, July 7, 2006 before the undersigned in Courtroom 3, George C. Young United States Courthouse and Federal Building, 80 North Hughey Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801.

One wonders if Rock Paper Scissors will be featured on future Bar Examinations in Florida. Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney has seen only one other blistering Judge's order that is as good as this one, in which an attorney who imagines himself to be Ernest Hemingway is denied permission to continue a murder for hire case so that he could travel to Key West for the Hemingway lookalike contest.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The more important the case, the more likely that the judge will do his or her best to make you look good. And the less important the case the more apt you are to fall on your face if for no other reason that those involved are simply bored. If the game isn't interesting there are plenty of judges who are apt to play you like the cat plays the mouse.

When the Best Clearwater Defense Lawyers go to jury trial on first degree Murder or an Armed Burglary or white colar crime such as Theft, Bribery, Embezzlement or Fraud, the attorneys will be treated with more respect at every stage of the proceedings.

Human nature being what it is everyone involved in the case tries harder and works harder when the stakes are greater especially a good judge.

Part of the reason is that any possible appeal of a conviction could carry with it the argument that the defense counsel failed to zealously defend his client or that the defendant had incompetent counsel. Further, in an appeal the judge's legal decisons will be looked at for legal error. Any mistakes of law or in jury instuctions or in evidence could result in a conviction being overtunred. The prosecutor's actions will be also be examined to see if there was prosecutorial misconduct.

The more complex the case for Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys, the more likely that the record of the case will reflect well on all three parties with the judge doing everything he can to make certain that the defense gets a clean shot at a fair trial. The message for any good defense attorney then is to always add an interesting wrinkle or twist to the case such as a compelling personal story about the defendant. The trial must be vital and fun. Let the Court know why you are trying the case, and the Judge will do whatever is possible to give you a fair hearing.