Thursday, August 11, 2016


The grim statistics don't lie - a higher percentage of Americans are imprisoned than in any other country. And the highest rates of incarceration are in Southern states. Let's take a look at why Florida, which in many ways pretends to be a progressive Southern state, has a high incarceration rate. Here's the three ways people end up in jail in Florida and the best way to make sure that you don't stay in jail if you're arrested.

First, too many arrests in Florida are made in cases where a mere notice to appear would secure the appearance of the defendant at any future hearing. In Florida it's possible to be arrested for almost any crime no matter how insignificant. For example, someone accused of a crime against property such as burglary of a conveyance (such as a car with no occupants) or trespassing on private property often faces arrest in Florida while reasonable police in other places would not arrest unless the perpetrator committed a violent crime such as sexual battery, assault or domestic battery or the crime is aggravated such as burglary to a dwelling (breaking into homes) or the defendant is deemed a danger to the community or the accused is believed likely to abscond. 

Second, once people are arrested they often find it difficult to get out of jail. In fact people awaiting trial are often held for months in jails and prisons without having been convicted. Many of these people allegedly committed drug crimes, driving offenses or crimes against property such as theft. Prosecutors have no qualms about keeping people in jail as long as possible to force plea deals even though it subverts the criminal justice system.

Third, many of the cowardly elected and appointed judges in Florida are political opportunist who take an unnecessarily hard stance on nonviolent crimes. These judges don't believe in justice instead they believe that anything other than maximum sentences may ruin their judicial careers. It matters nothing to them the countless lives they ruin in the process.

The goal must be to persuade police to stop making needless arrests. Public pressure should be brought to bear against craven prosecutors and judges to force the release of nonviolent defendants before trial. Further, society should shame Judges such as Judge Susan Schaeffer who was obsessed with power and harsh sentencing into giving consistently fair sentencing rather than mindless harsh sentencing for those convicted of crimes. 

Until this happens finding a criminal defense lawyer who will fight to obtain for you or those you care about the best possible results after an arrest, to persuade your judge to give a reasonable bond and to have your charges reduced or dismissed is crucial.

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