Sunday, September 30, 2012


With two successful unsolved Bank Robberies under his belt, planning the third proved too much for a robber even as he was casing a Wells Fargo Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was very stressed and tired, so he did what any good citizen would do - he called a Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer to confess, no this story does not end so happily - no, he dialed 911 according to press reports

addiction to crack may be an argument for mitigation of a drug sentence but not a robbery
Adrian Brouwer, Fumatore, 1635
The robber told stunned dispatchers that he wanted to go back to rehab as he'd fallen off the wagon, the fall apparently directly striking his head. The police obliged in their gentle way by sending him directly to jail where he could have made use of some of that bank money to make a $100,000 bond. St. Petersburg Police Department Detectives charged him with two counts of Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, noting that he not only confessed to the bank robberies, but is addicted to crack cocaine. 
Will the fact that the confessed robber turned himself in by dialing 911 with an argument that he was addicted to drugs at the time of the robberies help in mitigating his sentence? Not much. Florida sentences are determined mathematically by Florida Guidelines and Scoresheets which apply unless trumped by a Florida minimum mandatory sentence. Aggravating his potential sentence is that the robberies were charged as being armed, which if true would likely trigger Florida's minimum mandatory sentence for firearm possession during a crime. Also, the press notes that he has prior robberies which would ratchet up the Florida Sentencing Guidelines to a level even beyond the minimum mandatory sentence. Tampa Bay's finest Clearwater Criminal Attorneys, deluded as we are, could argue that the 911 call and the crack cocaine addiction present the Judge with an opportunity to go to the lower end of the guidelines, but even the lower end of the Florida Sentencing Guidelines if calculated were less than the minimum mandatory sentence, a Pinellas Judge will likely look for a very hefty sentence for a violent offense

Friday, September 28, 2012


Your Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer was asked yesterday how to obtain a sealing or expungement of criminal records in Florida. Today we'll look at how to obtain a pardon for a criminal act in Florida; but if, and only if, you promise that you won't go committing a rampage of criminal acts just because I'm showing you how to obtain a pardon.
a successful pardon gives reasons why the Governor should grant it from Clearwater criminal lawyer Robert hambrick in Largo, St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Florida
Van Gogh, Self Portrait 
Obtaining a pardon in Florida is more difficult than sealing or expungement of criminal records, because a pardon is in its nature a political act. Therefore successful Applications for Clemency in Florida will show the decision makers in the Governor's office and Cabinet why it is in their best interest to grant the pardon. Successful applications possess a political overtone based on a clear showing of the failure of the judicial process with a well defined change of heart demonstrated by the creative civic actions of the Defendant linked with a showing of simple fairness to address a wrong. 
A pardon restores civil rights that a Florida felony conviction takes away. The Governor and cabinet have great leeway under Florida to grant pardons. Upon taking office the Governor's office issued a press release on the pardon procedure which would be followed during his term of office noting that "...civil rights will not be restored automatically for any offenses," and delineating categories of crime that would require a hearing (aggravated felonies, drug trafficking, RICO, sexual battery) and which could be obtained without a hearing (simple felonies). A partial sample for the application for Clemency below shows the options available to begin the pardon procedure:

Check box for type of clemency desired. All applications must have the proper court documents attached.
Restoration of Civil Rights for Florida conviction
Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida for Federal, Military, or Out-of-State conviction
Restoration of Alien Status Under Florida Law Remission of Fine or Forfeiture
Specific Authority to Own, Possess or Use Firearms (Eligible 8 years after completion of sentence)
Full Pardon (Eligible 10 years after completion of sentence)
Pardon Without Firearm Authority
(Eligible 10 years after completion of sentence)
Commutation of Sentence (Use Form “Request for Review”)
If you have applied for a Full Pardon, Pardon Without Firearm Authority or Specific Authority to Own, Possess or Use Firearms and are determined ineligible due to not meeting the time requirement, you will be processed for Restoration of Civil Rights. If you have already received Restoration of Civil Rights, a Certificate for Restoration of Civil Rights will be mailed to you.

The Governor's office has an application for clemency form (see above) which you send to the Governor's office with the records of your criminal case from the clerk's office as without the records some folks have been known to fib. 
For failures in the Florida criminal justice system there is the safety valve of commutation of sentence, which can be applied for in Florida criminal cases where the law has too harshly dealt with a given set of facts, for example where a harsh minimum mandatory sentence applies in a mere nonviolent hand to hand drug deal.  For a successful pardon in Florida contact a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney who will show the Florida Governor and Cabinet why justice demands that a pardon be granted.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


A reader recently asks a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney about sealing and expunging of criminal history records in Tampa Bay Florida:
Clearwater Criminal Lawyer Robert Hambrick recommends self awareness & honesty to get a job after a criminal client gets a grand theft conviction in Tampa Bay Florida at the Pinellas criminal court complex in Largo
Van Gogh, Self Portrait & Hat
I'm only in my twenties but I think I already ruined my life. I pled guilty to a felony Grand Theft in Florida two years ago to avoid a trial. I was sentenced to probation and I was given an adjudication of guilt. I believe I was innocent, but I know it's long too late to withdraw the plea. I didn't think things would be this difficult later. Because of that charge on the record it's been really tough to find a decent job. I want to get my life back and make something of myself. Is it possible to have my record cleared by having the charges expunged or sealed? Should I move to another state?

Sealing and expungement are tools to restrict access to criminal records in Florida. Here's the difference between sealing and expungement:
A sealing of a criminal history means that the public will not have access to it though law enforcement and other governmental entities as found at FS 943.059(4)(a) will still have access to sealed record information in its entirety.An expungement goes much further by giving those entities which would have access to the sealed record notice that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, with no access given to the actual criminal history records without a court order. 
For the official record of a crime to be sealed under Florida Law the charge had to be resolved with either a dismissal or with the Judge withholding adjudication at sentencing. Because you state that you were convicted with an adjudication of guilt your record for grand theft can not be sealed under Florida law. 

For a charge to be expunged one of the following things must happen:
1. The State of Florida nolle prossed or dropped the charge. 
2. The charge was dismissed by the Court.
3. A jury found you not guilty of all of the charges at trial.
4. The records were successfully sealed and a term of at least ten years have passed.

Since you don't meet any of these criteria, your official record can not be expunged nor sealed even with the help of Clearwater Criminal Defense LawyerWhat can you do to get your life back? You could ask the Governor and cabinet for a Florida Pardon, but it's political and no longer an automatic process. Finding work is tough even without a Grand Theft in your background. To persuade someone to risk hiring you focus on what you've learned and what you've gained from the humiliating experience of being arrested, pleading guilty and being punished with probation. Show how the things you've experienced makes you the best fit for the job. Make an honest self appraisal of your life. Focus on how the arrest changed your life in ways that have made you stronger, wiser, more reliable and more empathetic. And never give up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


A new Federal Crime of Theft of Pre-Retail Medical Products extends the wiretapping authority of the Federal Government while issuing a directive to the Sentencing Commission to amend the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to comply with the law, if necessary. The United States Senate passed the new crime bill after the House and is expected to become law when President Obama signs it (as he is expected to do). 
Criminal lawyer Robert Hambrick defends your cell phone records that can be subject to wiretap in Largo, St. Petersburg & Tampa Bay, Florida
Water then Wiretap iPhone.
The Federal Guideline Sentencing Commission supplies summaries of criminal laws and interprets new federal criminal statutes from Congress because it is charged with implementing the sentencing standards enumerated within the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Courts. New federal criminal laws often require amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to keep the Guidelines relevant, up to date and even more confusing for Criminal Defense Lawyers in Clearwater who use the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to make unique, strong and effective sentencing arguments in Federal Court in Tampa, Florida.

It's not unusual for the new criminal law to extend the wiretapping authority so that law enforcement will be able to investigate any violations. The wiretapping authority ultimately rests with Judges who must make a finding of probable cause that a crime may have been committed by signing warrants with sworn affidavits from federal law enforcement officers who seek the wiretap. But the ever increasing number of activities which are defined as crime will inevitably increase the number of approved wiretaps at the expense of privacy.
The new federal Pre-retail Medical Product Theft law as passed by Congress will become binding law once the President signs it. It will expand current criminal federal law in Medical Theft cases in the Middle District of Florida in Tampa because it applies to "...a medical product that has not yet been made available for retail purchase by a consumer..." defining medical product as "...a drug, biological product, device, medical food or infant formula." 
If you have been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Tampa in the Middle District of Florida or are being investigated for federal criminal charges call a Clearwater Criminal Attorney as soon as possible for advice, help and defense guidance.

Monday, September 24, 2012


new tampa animal court defended by clearwater criminal lawyer robert hambrick in the criminal justice center in Largo, Pinellas County Florida
Landseer, Laying Down The Law, 1840
Tampa has a new Animal Court not so much for the animals, but for folks who have gotten in trouble because of their animals. Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers hope your pet doesn't bite the hand that feeds it, because for that there isn't much the Tampa Bay Animal Court could do for you. 

Yet animals have not always been free from prosecution. In the middle ages there were occasional court cases involving animals as defendants. Even insects would be given fair warning before being put to death:

... the slugs were warned three times to cease from vexing the people by corroding and consuming the herbs of the fields and the vines, and to depart ...

And attorneys in search of fame often began their careers defending the defenseless animals. For example, in Autun, France in 1510 an attorney used some excellent lawyering skills to rescue  some wayward rats from the death sentence who were accussed of destroying the peasant's fields of barley:

 The bishop ordered a trial of the offending rats. The court appointed lawyer for the rats, Bartholomew Chassenee used every procedural argument he could to delay the trial... First he argued that no one knew which rats were eating the barley and since no one owned the rats, the rats had no notice of the proceedings.
To resolve these issues, the judge ordered local priests to announce, from their pulpits, that all the rats in their respective parishes had to appear for trial on a specific day.  But as no rats showed up at the appointed time, were the rats were in contempt of court?
Chasseness, grand defense counsel for the rats,  defended his clients' absence by noting a law that stated that no one could be ordered into court if making the journey to the courthouse put one's life in danger.  To make it to court the rats had to pass through an area filled with cats which would clearly place their lives in jeopardy. Since no safe passage could be secured for the rats, the case was never further prosecuted.

Although the new Tampa Bay Animal Court won't be trying those rats in your attic nor your favorite golden retriever for mauling those fancy Italian shoes of yours (no Sancho! Noooooooo!), the Judge is willing to dispense neighborly advice about letting sleeping dogs lie, especially since we don't want our dogs charged with perjury. 
Interestingly enough press reports note that the Animal Judge (hope he's not a real bear in court) has found that cats rarely cause enough problems for their owners to be hauled into court - no wonder you cat people think so much of yourselves. 
The modern trend if for courts to become more specialized such as the Clearwater Drug Court in Pinellas that handles only drug cases with an aim of reducing harsh drug punishment to resolve the underlying drug addiction problems. The new Animal Court handles only misdemeanor cases including animal nuisance, so don't let that mutt of yours bite your favorite Clearwater Criminal Attorney.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Your Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney dealt with facial recognition in a recent jury trial in Federal Court in the Middle District of Florida. In that quiet Tampa courtroom someone other than my client was identified thru facial recognition software as matching the perpetrator. 
The Government's main law enforcement witness disavowed facial recognition as he would any evidence inconsistent with guilt, testifying under oath in federal court that he "knew nothing about facial recognition," I'd have had no quibble with his sworn statement had he simply stopped speaking after the word nothing, but his knowledge of facial recognition was established in his written reports indicating something of a slavish devotion to the infallibility of the software. 

the right to be anonymous facial recognition is condemned by robert hambrick, clearwater defense lawyer in largo, tampa & st. petersburg
Did Vermeer use Facial Recognition?
One of the shames of the American Criminal Justice System is that it's neither unusual nor unexpected for law enforcement officers to conjure up vivid new memories for jurors. But moving on from perjury, one wonders how prevalent is facial recognition and what does it mean for our privacy rights as Americans?

Under fire from European regulators concerned about privacy rights Facebook today suspended its facial recognition software in Europe. Facebook has millions of photographs of individuals and Facebook's software can burrow deep thru the photos in search of identification markers. The software can also be used for photos taken from videos. Americans should demand that facial recognition be limited by criminal laws with punishments if private companies fail in safeguarding our privacy rights.
Privacy is evaporating as eavesdropping by electronic surveillance becomes a way of life in America and Europe.
All of us are subject to having our photos taken in public places and private places sometimes with our knowledge and approval and sometimes without our knowledge or with our disapproval such as videos taken from inappropriate police surveillance of stores and thanks to the Mayor of Tampa even secret surveillance videos while walking in Tampa. Criminal laws that apply to electronic surveillance should be modified to prohibit use of facial recognition.
While avoiding Tampa your Clearwater Criminal Lawyer  will search for a right not enumerated in the constitution, yet distinctly American - the right to remain anonymous, even as I type. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney answers a reader's question on the legal consequences of the length of time marijuana can be detected in one's system: 
even for van gogh's smoker marijuana residue can linger for over three months in clearwater, tampa, largo and st. petersburg florida defense lawyer robert hambrick argues to judges that  a positive drug test should not violate probation or ror
Van Gogh, The Smoker, 1888
I was recently arrested for possession of pot. Before being arrested I was a daily (yes and nightly) user, but since the arrest I stopped. Yesterday a random marijuana drug test come back positive when over a month has passed since that last blazing hit from my blue bong. Is there a way to argue the test is unreliable? Is this going to get me sent back to Pinellas County Jail? Will my ROR be revoked? Will I lose my job? What will the Judge do?
Most judges and probation officers have repeatedly been told by prosecutors that thirty days is sufficient time for the body's system to be cleared of marijuana. And for the average user this is not a false statement. However, the science shows chronic long term marijuana users may test positive for much longer than previously thought, even as long as 77 days as can be seen in this extract from  Excretion Patterns of Cannabinoid Metabolites in a group of Chronic Users (really I'm not making this up):

Abstract: The urinary excretion patterns of 86 chronic cannabis users were examined after their last cannabis use by two common screening methods, the semiquantitative EMIT-d.a.u. and the qualitative EMIT-st (Syva Company). We demonstrated that under very strictly supervised abstinence, chronic users can have positive results for cannabinoids in urine at 20 ng/ml or above on the EMIT-d.a.u. assay for as many as 46 consecutive days from admission, and can take as many as 77 days to drop below the cutoff calibrator for 10 consecutive days. For all subjects, the mean excretion time was 27 days. Subject excretion patterns were clearly biphasic, with initial higher rates of excretion not sustained. During the subsequent period of leveling off, most subjects had one or more separate sequences of cannabinoid-negative urine test results, lasting a mean of 3 days each and followed by at least one positive result. Demographic, body type, and drug history variables proved to be only moderate predictors of excretion patterns. Findings were discussed in the context of potential clinical and forensic application.

If you, like me, got lost at those words 'urinary excretion patterns' here's the bottom line: that blazing stuff you ingested on your glorious blue bong can still be detected months later, in fact up to 77 days later. The length of time detectable residue for marijuana can remain in the body varies by sex, height, weight, age and metabolism, but a significant factor is the amount and frequency of previous ingestion as seen in this excerpt from other related links:
There are many variables that determine how long THC will remain detectable in your system, including height, weight, age, metabolism, amount smoked/ingested, and methods to clean. Many drug tests, including urine tests, look for 9-carboxy-THC which is the by-product of your body metabolizing the THC in your fat.Marijuana Detection Times:
Frequent users blood drug test (defined as someone who smokes several times per week)
THC: 4-8 hours after smoking THC by-product: 2 or more weeks after smoking
Frequent users urine drug testTHC by-product: 2 weeks to a month after smoking (3 months for extremely heavy users)
Infrequent users blood drug testTHC: 3-4 hours after smoking THC by-product: 2-3 days after smoking
Infrequent users urine drug testTHC by-product: up to 10 days after smoking 
Getting back to my reader's question, clearly the Judge presiding at your Clearwater Drug Court needs to be shown that harsh punishment like sending you to prison for drugs is not the best solution. Your Clearwater Drug Defense Lawyer will make the argument that because of your heavy use of marijuana it may take longer for the residue to leave your body; therefore this positive test is unreliable and after waiting an additional 77 days you should be given another test.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Even savvy street smart Detectives were surprised when serving the warrant in search of drugs at a Tampa Bay hotel room. 

clearwater criminal defense lawyer robert hambrick defends fraud charges in florida
Norman Rockwell, Tax Time, 1945
Instead of the usual things your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer might expect like mountains of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin enveloped in clouds of smoke, the Detectives found fifteen people sitting around tables furiously filling out fake tax refund forms. 
Rather than tell the officers the complete truth after Miranda was read, "We're playing a new game called Tax Crosswords...," apparently the Taxters led the Detectives on a two year odyssey.

Tampa has long been the the epicenter of identity theft and tax refund fraud with Federal and Florida law enforcement doing their best to work as a team despite the stringent secrecy requirements for Federal tax information of citizens making investigations and prosecutions difficult. As reported in this excerpt by Bay News 9 three leaders of the alleged aggravated identity theft and tax fraud conspiracy may have taken as much as half a billion dollars, but even with that much money they never lost sight of their past acquaintances on Facebook nor forgot to apply for their food stamps and Medicaid:which in turn led to multiple grand jury indictments for which have been unsealed.

"She was known as the First Lady," Maj. Ken Morman said. "That's what she posted on Facebook."
Detectives said the three were the kingpins of a ring of people that stole at least a half-billion dollars by filing fake tax returns.
Neighbors said they suspect something wasn't right at the house.
"We suspected something wasn't right because of the cameras and nice cars," said neighbor Dora Hubley.
Twelve other people face charges as well, including one who police said had $23,000 in cash plus benefits cards for food stamps and Medicaid.
Police said it took two years to bring this tax fraud case to a close because of all the bureaucratic red tape. They announced Wednesday that they were forming an investigative alliance with the Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service to speed these types of cases up in the future.
They better hope a judge doesn't sentence them to a lifetime of doing taxes, something most of us avoid. If your Conspiracy to Commit Tax Fraud has endangered not only your future freedom but your ability to maintain government subsidies, call Clearwater  Criminal Attorney but don't expect any refunds and please bring plenty of cash.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


National Electronic Surveillance regulations of audio or video can be found in the Wiretap Act which requires that a Judge make a formal finding of probable cause that a crime has or is about to be committed before the Government may listen in on your conversations with your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer.  
Because the federal standards were enacted with a view to restrict Government eavesdropping into telephonic conversations long before the internet, cell phones and large scale use of video surveillance, state governments have taken up the slack with State Electronic Surveillance laws. Yet even the better written state laws such as Florida's which strives to lean toward privacy have many exceptions.
Electronic surveillance has been broadened by many states to cover other 'data communications' as follows:
video surveillance balances privacy rights with security needs in Tampa Florida
Hidden yet there, Camera Obscura 
Electronic surveillance involves the traditional laws on wiretapping, which can be defined as any interception of a telephone transmission by accessing the telephone signal itself--and eavesdropping--listening in on conversations without the consent of the parties.  States have extended these laws to cover data communications as well as telephone surveillance....In Florida, interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications is prohibited. State and federal policymakers face the challenge of balancing security needs via electronic surveillance against individual privacy. 

The delicate balancing of privacy rights with security needs is something each state has had to grapple with in determining criminal standards. Here is the criminal law in Florida as it relates to use and abuse of electronic communications:

934.03Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited.(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, any person who:(a) Intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication;(b) Intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when:1. Such device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communication; or2. Such device transmits communications by radio or interferes with the transmission of such communication;(c) Intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;(d) Intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; or(e) Intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepted by means authorized. 
Florida law sets the standard for the rest of the nation in protecting privacy rights over intrusion. Yet despite the law in Florida Clearwater Criminal Attorneys find that Tampa Courts have held that where there is no expectation of privacy such as in a store, there is no privacy. Everything you do at the store is on video from the moment you park, enter and slug the manager for turning off the blue light special just as you reach for it.

Monday, September 17, 2012


During the Republican Convention the beleaguered city of Tampa was blanketed with over sixty cameras to watch the rioters, radicals and anarchist whom the city was certain were planning our destruction, but the mischief makers never materialized. Fear not, as long as the humidity is above eighty percent our city will remain safe from saboteurs. Instead of the massive arrests the city prepared for, alas only two protestors were thrown into jail and even those two arrests seemed two too many for your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer who once thought Americans were born with the right to protest.

Vermeer, Camera Obscura Proof?
But what to do with the all those fancy video cameras? Our right to privacy demands that Tampa take the Government video cameras down. The Government should not be conducting video surveillance on its citizens without probable cause of wrongdoing. This is especially true in Tampa Bay because of prior law enforcement overzealous surveillance in Florida in which citizens shopping at a store were later subjected to unlawful searches with Deputies gaining entry into homes by posing as utility workers and Deputies using fake subpoenas.
Here's an excerpt from today's editorial from the Tampa Bay Times that balances the right of privacy versus the need for public safety exactly right:

 Law-abiding residents in public spaces should not be subject to around-the-clock surveillance by their local government... While (the Mayor of Tampa) is open to moving some cameras out of downtown and into high-crime areas, the mayor argued the devices are "valuable tools" in fostering the sense of security that would make downtown a more attractive place to visit and do business. People have grown accustomed to cameras, he said, and shutting them off would be a "colossal waste."...
The city has an obligation, especially after fanning the fears of convention-related violence, to balance public safety with civil liberties. Walking downtown or visiting Curtis Hixon Park is not consent for a digital search...fight these government eyes in the sky.
Since the Mayor of Tampa is keen to keep these cameras, why not place all sixty cameras in the Mayor's office where citizens can watch him babbling about every day. The 'valuable tools' will keep him honest knowing we're watching while protecting him too. If you believe your rights are being violated by law enforcement or even by the Honorable Mayor of Tampa call a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Forger is a new memoir from Florida's master art forger, Ken Perenyl. In the memoir the author almost admits to a series of crimes which could constitute a criminal conspiracy of grand theft and scheming to defraud. The painter believes that he is immune from prosecution because of the statute of limitations; it's hoped he vetted all of his admissions before publication not with a priest but with a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney

KEN PERENYI the artist and forger in Tampa Bay Florida hopes the statute of limitations has passed for scheme to defraud
The Artist working in Madeira Beach, Florida
But is the master forger really free from the threat of prosecution? A defense argument can be made that the forgeries are not forgeries at all in that he copied the style, formula and subject matter for secondary artists rather than copy known paintings and let others jump to conclusions and that any evidence of wrongdoing is circumstantial. 
But what about the money? Press accounts of the memoir indicate that the expert art forger made a significant amount of money from the crimes. How he accounted for the money could directly affect how the statute of limitations would apply in his case. Further, it appears that he is still painting fakes, but listing them as fakes in a wonderfully worded convoluted waiver in his sales slips, which might not be sufficient to stop fraud allegations if the prices he sells the paintings are enhanced because of high resale value as genuine paintings especially if a reasonable person would believe that the paintings would later be sold as genuine. But even if he were prosecuted and punished would jail really be appropriate for his crimes.
Here are some excerpts from the Gaurdian Newspaper's account. 

An extraordinary memoir reveals how a gifted artist managed to forge his way to riches by conning high-profile auctioneers, dealers and collectors over four decades tells the story of Ken Perenyi, an American who lived in London for 30 years. The revelations within it are likely to spark embarrassment on both sides of the Atlantic as "a bombshell for the major international auction houses and galleries."
Perenyi's specialities included British sporting and marine paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. He concentrated on the work of well-known but second-rank artists, believing that the output of the greatest masters is too fully documented. Dealers were often told he had found a picture in a relative's attic or spotted it in a car boot sale.
Perhaps Perenyi's proudest moment came when a forgery of Ruby Throats with Apple Blossoms, by the American 19th-century artist Martin Johnson Heade, made the front page of a national newspaper and was heralded as a major "discovery"selling for nearly $100,000 at auction in New York.
Perenyi believes he is free finally to publish his story because, although he was investigated by the FBI, the case was closed in 2003 and is subject to the statute of limitations. He said he has never discovered why the case was dropped, but he suspects the art world may have been keen to prevent the exposure of the serial forgeries. 
His love of painting and the old masters remains undimmed and today he owns a studio in Madeira Beach, Florida. Asked if he regrets not finding recognition as an artist in his own right, he said: "I've often pondered that myself. But to have equalled the hand of such artists as Herring and Buttersworth and many others is for me a tremendous satisfaction."
If you've been forging great works of art while the FBI is looking over your shoulder, call  Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers who will paint a picture of your innocent nature for the Judge and Jury.

Friday, September 14, 2012


If a Florida law enforcement officer does not have a search warrant should you consent to a search of your home or car? Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers agree that you almost never have an obligation to consent to a search of your home or vehicle unless the officer has a proper search warrant. 
But what happens when officers conduct a search without a search warrant anyway? Upon the filing of a motion to suppress all evidence discovered incident to a warrantless search a Judge will hold a suppression hearing to look at the circumstances of the search. The Judge will look to see if you gave consent to the search and for what are known as exigent circumstances.

don quixote seeking justice would never give consent to search to police in Tampa Bay, Florida
 Quixotic Motion to Suppress
When you grant consent to search to a law enforcement officer,  your permission to search is sufficient for him to conduct the search as long as it's within the scope of the permission to search which was given. For example, if you give permission to search your car it doesn't mean you've given permission for a search of your home or your business records.

People mistakenly think counterintuively that somehow if permission is given for an officer to conduct a search that the officer will refrain from conducting a search because he will think that permission would only be given if there was nothing to find.

But officers in Florida are taught to look for evidence of crime, that's what good officer's do. So an officer who is given permission to search your home, business records, computer hard drive, cell phone, or vehicle will always conduct a search because he has nothing to lose. Some officers have been known to enhance the likelihood of evidence being found with search and seizure throw bags. If an officer should find any evidence of criminal conduct the evidence will not be suppressed by a judge.

As you can imagine it's a tempting solution for some law enforcement officers to falsely state that there was consent to a search in the police report and falsely testify at the suppression hearing that consent to search was given when it wasn't. You'll want a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney to demand discovery, file a motion to suppress and establish for the Judge that you, not the officer, are being truthful at the suppression hearing.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer is often stopped on the street only to be solemnly asked by someone who looks suspiciously like you my gentle reader. Where is a safe place to store these missing body parts? 
You could think that if your attorney might not readily have a satisfactory answer for you, that a Doctor with a medical examiner's autopsy experience not to mention a few years of dating medical school cadavers as Doctors are prone to do, would have excellent insight into the best ways for successful body part storage.
Yet a former Florida medical examiner in Pensacola, Florida faces multiple felony charges for haphazardly storing leaking body parts in an improbable place - his private storage unit. And making matters worse in failing to keep up with payments on said storage unit allowing the contents to be auctioned to the highest bladder - oops, errrr - I mean, bidder.

Here are some excerpts from the body of press reports:
Rembrandt, The Anatomy of Dr. Tulp, 1632
A man who bought the unit's contents discovered the human organs after becoming overpowered by a strange smell while sifting through the items, authorities said.... Ten cardboard boxes stacked in a corner of the unit contained "numerous individual containers with ... human remains stored in a liquid substance," according to the affidavit. Most of the containers were labeled...and, according to the affidavitCrudely preserved brains, hearts, lungs and other organs and specimens were discovered in more than 100 containers (about half) in soda cups and plastic food containers
Now that bidding on the contents of Florida storage units has become so lucrative, one wonders if this find will increase or decrease the overall net value of bidding. No one is suggesting that the former medical examiner committed untold unsolved murders in Florida. And one wonders about the propensity of some Defendants to make themselves suspects of crime. But one thing is certain, there should be an increase in scrutiny on the reliability of the testimony given by medical examiners in the state of Florida. Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys are often dumbfounded by the malleability of medical examiners who are eager to provide whatever testimony prosecutors desire without regard to intellectual honesty and integrity. 

Friday, September 07, 2012


Forensic laboratories  are failing to abide by the high standards American justice demands and have come under scrutiny for lacking scientific standards leading to unacceptable errors all over the country. The reliability of forensic evidence is a recurring problem in federal FBI labs as well as many state labs and in Tampa Bay Florida prosecutions. What happens when the forensic laboratory tests from the state of Massachusetts can no longer be trusted? How could their problems have any significance for Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys in Florida?
Here's an excerpt from an email sent by attorney Miriam Conrad of Massachusetts who shows us how interconnected Florida is to every other state in the country when it comes to faulty forensic laboratory results:

faulty forensic lab work has consequences for criminal cases in Florida
Bastida, Doctor's Laboratory
I am writing to alert you to an exploding scandal in Massachusetts involving misconduct by a chemist in the Massachusetts state drug testing lab. The scope of the misconduct hasn't been fully revealed, but is serious enough to have resulted in the closing of the lab.
While the consequences are most immediately apparent for our clients herein Massachusetts whose federal cases involved the chemist or state lab, I wanted to notify you in the event that you have any clients (past or present) whose sentences were enhanced (career offender, 851, ACCA) based on a Massachusetts drug conviction. The chemist worked in the lab from 2003 until 2012. We have recent information that at least as of 2010, she was responsible for quality control in the lab, so all results from that period of time -- whether or not she did the testing -- may be in doubt.
Although there are many good lab technicians such as the forenic lab that recreated a novel a blind person wrote without ink. There are also failed lab technicians who place innocent lives in jeopardy of false convictions. As you can see fabricated evidence or faulty forensic laboratory analysis can directly impact the prior record of a Defendant even if the lab test was done years ago by placing doubt upon any prior convictions based on evidence from that laboratory. And it means that Clearwater Criminal Lawyers will filing Motions for Resentencing after checking up to see if clients who were sentenced here in Florida had any prior criminal acts from Massachusetts which were wrongfully counted.

Monday, September 03, 2012


A confidential informant is used by law enforcement to prosecute defendants when police are unable to secure probable cause for an arrest without the testimony from someone who has directly dealt with the defendant. Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys find that most major conspiracy and trafficking cases will have one or more confidential informants as witnesses. These witnesses will testify that they bought drugs from the defendant at grand jury proceedings and at trials.
So many young lives ruined by police use of confidential informants in Largo, Clearwater, St.Petersburg and Tampa Bay, Florida
Manet, Bar at Folies-Bergere, 1882
Ideally the police wire the confidential informant, listen as a drug deal is consummated and arrive at the nick of time before the confidential informant becomes a grim statistic.
Unfortunately law enforcement are recklessly using young defendants as confidential informers in significant drug deals as detailed in this recent heartbreaking New Yorker article about young people haplessly murdered while under the protection of police as they tried to work off minor drug charges. In one case that took place in Florida the police gave a young confidential informant $13,000 in cash to buy drugs and a gun from the target. She was murdered instead. Why did officers want her to buy drugs and a gun? Because the weapons and firearms count against the target would add an additional five years to the sentence, yet clearly adding a weapon to the mix increased the risks the CI faced and may have even tipped off the target that something was odd.
Sometimes the overzealous police officers fail to properly take into account the age and sophistication of the confidential informant nor to adequately appraise the confidential informant as to the actual risks inherent in co-operating. Officers use the threat of harsh Florida drug sentencing laws and mimimum mandatory drug sentences to frighten young people into co-operating. 
In Florida law under Rachel's Law, named for a young lady whose life was cut short while working as a confidential informant, law enforcement officers must have special training, must tell potential confidential informants that even with the co-operation their sentence may not be reduced and must allow the confidential informant to contact Clearwater Criminal Lawyers before agreeing to co-operate.