Wednesday, August 31, 2011


For Clearwater Criminal Attorneys and their unfortunate clients who find themselves trapped within the legal morass of charged misconduct or federal grand jury investigations within the Federal Middle District of Florida, which includes Tampa, Largo and St. Petersburg Florida, the Sentencing Commission is now publishing case law summaries by circuit. The objective at Federal Sentencing is to use the Federal Guidelines for the best unique sentencing arguments for mitigation of a defendant's sentence. The Federal legal summaries are merely that, just summaries of legal decisions.

Though many of the summaries may be useful in urging a judge to accept leniency at sentencing and to provide the Judge with reasons for a fair Federal Sentence under the Federal Guidelines
Keep in mind that Commission staff wrote the legal summaries. The summaries are therefore a reflection of how the staff members interpret the federal guidelines promulgated by the sentencing commission. The interpretations can be useful in making arguments to judges on how the federal guidelines should be interpreted during federal sentencing especially in federal drug crimes or federal violent crimes where harsh federal mandatory minimum sentences destroy lives.
But the federal sentencing guidelines themselves are always definitively interpreted by the federal courts such as the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in Tampa's Middle District of Florida not by the lawyers on the staff of the commission nor by Clearwater Federal Criminal Lawyers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Many studies show that eye witness testimony is often not as reliable as the witness believes. 

Now the law is catching up to scientific studies. And at least one Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney believes a recent court opinion should be applied in Tampa Bay Criminal Courts even if it is from the New Jersey Supreme Court. How about a special Florida jurisdiction for what's right? It's certainly persuasive. It cites countless studies and scientific research on how memories work and how testimony can be flawed and how juries can make mistakes. In short, the court held:
The current legal standard for assessing eyewitness identification evidence must be revised because it does not offer an adequate measure for reliability; does not sufficiently deter inappropriate police conduct; and overstates the jury’s ability to evaluate identification evidence. Two modifications to the standard are required. First, when defendants can show some evidence of suggestiveness, all relevant system and estimator variables should be explored at pretrial hearings. Second, the court system must develop enhanced jury charges on eyewitness identification for trial judges to use.
The court is right to look at the suggestiveness of the identification as a factor in reliability. If you need a reliable Clearwater Criminal Lawyer to look at the reliability of a Florida eye witness give me a call.