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Only hours after the Miami Herald reported that an arrest warrant was issued for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson after he failed to appear for a Broward County court date on May 1, ESPN reported that the arrest warrant was being set aside. Anderson’s attorney told ESPN that the missed court date was the result of miscommunication and a new court date was set for July 19.

Anderson was supposed to appear for an arraignment relating to a misdemeanor reckless driving offense in January. According to ESPN, the incident initially resulted in nine charges—including two felonies—but was reduced to the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving and threatening a public servant or family member.

ESPN reported that the Broward County State Attorney’s Office dropped the felony charges in April due to insufficient evidence. Anderson’s attorney told ESPN that he “never received notice from any court to appear” and called it a “clerical error.”

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On February 26, 2016, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 228 (SB 228). The legislation deleted aggravated assault from the list of convictions carrying mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment if during the commission of the offense the convicted person possessed a firearm, destructive device, semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable box magazine, or machine gun.

Criminal charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences often put both alleged offenders and judges in difficult spots. A person who is accused of a crime that involves a possible minimum sentence may be less inclined to fight the charges at trial out of fear for the possible consequences of a conviction, giving a prosecutor substantial leverage in pretrial negotiations. Similarly, judges are powerless to deviate from mandatory minimum sentences even in cases in which an alleged offender has no prior criminal record.

While the change to the state’s law for aggravated assault with a firearm or other weapon offenses was certainly a welcome one, many other criminal offenses in Florida still carry very steep mandatory minimum sentences. Any person who is facing a possible mandatory minimum will want to immediately retain legal counsel for help possibly getting the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible.

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After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a national opioid epidemic, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 17-146 on May 3, 2017, declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. On June 14, 2017, Governor Scott signed House Bill 477 (HB 477), legislation that added the opioids fentanyl and carfentanil to the list of drugs that can result in mandatory minimum sentences.

Roughly six months later, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a report stating that the 5,725 opioid-related deaths reported in 2016 were 1,483 more than the prior year, or a 35 percent increase. The date included the following opioids:

  • Buprenorphine
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WPLG-TV reported on December 28, 2017, that a man was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to a 2010 rape in Davie. Davie Police Sergeant Mark Leone told WPLG that United States Border Patrol was notified because the alleged offender was in the country illegally.

Leone said the rape case originally went cold after saliva was collected from the woman’s breast and submitted for DNA analysis, but a company was able to create a composite of the alleged offender after police recently provided the DNA evidence. The composite was used to locate the alleged offender, who consented to a collection of his DNA.

Leone told WPLG that “the test results concluded that it was a 1-in-400-billion chance” that the man arrested was not the man responsible. WPLG reported that he now faces multiple counts of sexual battery.

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TCPalm.com reported on December 4 that a 39-year-old man was arrested in the 4500 block of Southeast Chatham Avenue in Stuart in Martin County. The man was wanted based on warrants issued in Broward County related to attempted sexual battery, burglary with battery, and battery with prior conviction.

Three days later, the Watertown Daily Times reported that state police in Massena, New York, arrested a 52-year-old Ontario woman based on another warrant from Broward County. According to the Times, the woman was being held without bond on a felony charge of violating probation and she was serving a sentence for exploiting an elderly person, second-degree grand theft, and forgery.

Both of these cases demonstrate that warrant information is shared by law enforcement agencies nationwide. People who have active warrants for their arrest cannot hide and simply hope to wait out warrants, as there are only two possible ways that warrants go away: with a warrant being recalled by a judge or the alleged offender being placed under arrest.

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The Sun-Sentinel reported on November 15 that a 48-year-old man turned himself in to Broward County jail to face driving under the influence (DUI) manslaughter charges following a July 15 crash along the Davie Road Extension near North 78th Avenue. According to an arrest report, a man driving behind the alleged offender told investigators that “9 or 10” times before the crash he saw the alleged offender’s GMC Sierra “drifting out of its lane and moving into oncoming traffic and that its turn signal was activated in the direction the pickup was drifting.”

The Sierra struck a northbound Toyota Scion and then hit a Kia Forte, the latter collision resulting the death of a 60-year-old grandmother. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the alleged offender fainted when being treated at the scene of the crash and again while giving consent to have his blood drawn. He is accused of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.24, or three times the legal limit.

One week before that story was published, the Sun-Sentinel reported that a 25-year-old man was booked into the Broward County jail Tuesday in connection with the death a 30-year-old woman and two of her children on April 24, 2016. The Sun-Sentinel reported that the alleged offender’s car went out of control and overturned in a construction zone on Interstate 75 as he and the 30-year-old woman argued while he was driving.

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WSVN-TV reported on October 17 that a man and a woman who lived along Laurel Oaks Drive in Davie were arrested on October 11 as part of a fentanyl drug bust. According to WSVN, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration said the arrest was “a big breakthrough in the war on fentanyl because this is the first time that they have been able to issue indictments for the Chinese nationals who manufactured the drugs.”

Officials said the two people arrested were a part of a larger international drug trafficking ring in which manufacturers were creating fentanyl and sending it to Canada, where it would then make its way through the United States. A government official told WSVN that a search of the alleged offenders’ residence resulted in the seizure of approximately $175,000 in U.S. currency, a Maserati and two firearms.

Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication and synthetic drug that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and many times that of heroin. This past June, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 477, a measure that imposed mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of trafficking in fentanyl.

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On September 6, the Miami New Times reported that a woman, her fiancé, and their 1-month-old son were all kicked out of their home after their roommate accused the fiancé of threatening him. According to the New Times, Broward County court records showed that the roommate filed a temporary restraining order against the fiancé and claimed in his petition that the fiancé had threatened and pushed him—allegations the couple denied.

The couple was kicked out of their home just as Hurricane Irma was preparing to make landfall. The New Times reported that the couple and their child walked and took the bus from shelter to shelter in Broward County, showing up at a homeless encampment near Stranahan Park before finding a house in Fort Lauderdale. The woman told the New Times that “they were turned away at homeless shelters, told there was no space or they were evacuating for the hurricane.”

The New Times noted that it was unclear why the woman and the child were also removed from the house in Fort Lauderdale when the restraining order was against only the fiancé—especially considering Hurricane Irma. Neither the roommate nor the Broward Sheriff’s Office provided comment on the story for the New Times.

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In Bretherick v. State, 170 So.3d 766 (Fla. 2015), the Supreme Court of Florida concluded that the Fifth District Court of Appeal correctly determined that the defendant bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, to demonstrate entitlement to Stand Your Ground immunity at the pretrial evidentiary hearing. The Court noted that in Dennis v. State, 51 So.3d 456 (Fla. 2010), it approved the procedure of a pretrial evidentiary hearing set forth in Peterson v. State, 983 So.2d 27 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008), for evaluating a claim of immunity under the Stand Your Ground law.

Jared Bretherick was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm for his alleged conduct during an encounter with another driver on a highway in 2011, and Bretherick filed a motion to dismiss under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(b), claiming immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Bretherick sought a pretrial evidentiary hearing on his motion to dismiss, consistent with the Court’s decision in Dennis, which approved the procedure of a pretrial evidentiary hearing to consider a defendant’s claim of entitlement to Stand Your Ground immunity, but the trial court concluded that Bretherick did not establish entitlement to immunity by a preponderance of the evidence and denied Bretherick’s motion to dismiss.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bretherick, Florida senators approved Senate Bill 128 (SB 128) in March 2017 for the second consecutive session. The bill shifts the burden of proof from the defendant to the prosecutor during the pretrial phase of Stand Your Ground cases and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 9.

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A 32-year-old woman facing multiple criminal charges after an April 8 crash in Key West that killed an off-duty Delray Beach police officer and left another critically injured is being represented by Broward County criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman. Key West police told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the alleged offender had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.17 based on a blood sample forcibly obtained after the alleged offender refused to perform field sobriety exercises or allow a blood sample to be taken.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Hoffman “expressed surprise” that his client was taken into custody in Broward County. “I believe you don’t arrest someone until you have all the evidence,” Hoffman told the Sun Sentinel. “As for the victims being police officers, I would hope that’s not the reason for rushing. But I would also hope that when you arrest someone and hold them tantamount to no bond, you have all the evidence.”

Hoffman told the Sun Sentinel that a Key West police officer told him they did not have test results for the Delray Beach police officers, and that there is also video of the crash that he had not yet seen. “Right now, her speedy trial starts and if they don’t get all the evidence in by six months or so, they’ll have problems,” Hoffman told the Sun Sentinel. “We’re gonna want to test the blood on all three women. We’re gonna test everything.”

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