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Criminal Defense Blog

Friday, July 17, 2020

Supreme Court says Florida can enforce law limiting ex-felons who owe fines from voting

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court on Thursday said Florida can enforce a law barring ex-felons from voting if they still owe court fines or fees that they are unable to pay associated with their convictions.

The unsigned order likely means the law will be in effect for the November election, although the court did not declare the law to be unconstitutional or limit ongoing court challenges.

Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan dissented.

"This Court's order prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida's primary election simply because they are poor," Sotomayor wrote in the dissent.

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Pending Hearing, US Appeals Court Blocks Judge’s Ruling Allowing Felons to Vote in Florida

A federal appeals court granted Florida’s governor a permanent injunction Wednesday, putting on hold a judge’s ruling that had dramatically expanded the number of eligible voters in the state to include former felons unable to pay their court fines and fees.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta said its full panel of judges intends to consider the appeal by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Federal Judge Rules Florida Law Restricting Voting Rights For Felons Unconstitutional

Originally posted on NPR.org / May 24, 2020

In a decision with potentially far-reaching implications for November's election, a federal judge in Florida has determined a state law that would have required felons to pay any outstanding court fees and fines before they can register to vote is unconstitutional.

The ruling on Sunday by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle moves hundreds of thousands of felons who have completed "all terms of their sentence including probation and parole" one step closer to winning back their right to vote.

The case at the center of the decision stems from a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters in 2018 overturning a 150-year-old law that permanently disenfranchised people with felony convictions.

The result was celebrated by supporters as the nation's largest expansion of voting right in decades, but seven months later, the state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill limiting the law only to those who have successfully paid their court-related debts. DeSantis said the law was needed in order to clarify what the amendment meant by "all terms," but critics charged that the measure amounted to a "poll tax."

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Whitham v. State; April 17, 2019. The Second District

Court of Appeals reversed my client’s conviction for unlawful exhibition of a firearm finding that the trial court applied the incorrect burden of proof under the Stand Your Ground Defense.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

State v. _________; April 4, 2019

In a case where my client was facing 10 years in prison for violating his sex offender probation, the trial court found that his having contact with two children under the age of 18 was not willful.  Thus, my client gained his freedom rather spending the next 10 years locked up in the state prison.
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Monday, November 26, 2018

Voting Rights to Felons in Florida Restored

With the passing of Amendment 4 on November 6, 2018, more than 1.6 million voting-age citizens convicted of felonies in Florida, will now have the right to vote. That includes more than 1 out of every 5 black citizens statewide. Voting rights will now be automatically restored at the end of an individual's sentence/probation. This change applies to all felonies except for murder and sex crimes.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Legal Update: Cell Phone Warrants

On June 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision in Carpenter v. United States, that law enforcement must obtain a search warrant in most situations in order to get access to a cell phone's location data from service providers.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stand Your Ground Defense

Florida Statute 776.032 provides for criminal and civil immunity for those who justifiably use or threaten to use force in self-defense. Effective June 9, 2017, the statute was revised which arguable makes the prosecuting those claiming self-defense even more difficult. Florida’s law enforcement officers are now not only required to determine if there was probable cause for arrest based on the use of force, but also to determine if the force used was unlawful. Therefore, law enforcement officers must conduct a more thorough investigation and analysis to determine not only if force was used, but the nature and character of that force.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Public Safety Act

On March 9, 2018, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Public Safety Act, which tightens gun control in several ways. First, it raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18. It also bans the sale or possession of bump fire stocks and it gives law enforcement greater authority to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit. The legislation allows a law enforcement officer who is taking a person into custody for an involuntary examination under the Baker Act to seize and hold a firearm or ammunition from the person for at least 72 hours, or until the person appears at the agency to retrieve the firearm or ammunition.
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Mr. Eisenberg is one of only a handful of criminal defense attorneys in all of Sarasota County who has been recognized by the Florida Bar as a Board Certified Criminal Trial Expert.

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