Happy New Year from Bodiford Law

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year.  After some much needed time off, we will be back in the office on January 2, 2018, hitting the ground running.

Call us for your Tallahassee criminal defense needs – let our expertise help you.

The focus on crime will continue into 2018 (from Tallahassee.com)

FSU police officer using the Force on a suspect

Following up my “2018 predictions” post yesterday came this from the Tallahassee Democrat.  Where the facts come from and whether they are accurate or not is a mystery – the stats cited seem to be from the FBI’s 2016 (not 2017) analysis.  That analysis (linked to the article and screenshotted below) seems to show Tallahassee crime going up – total crimes in 2015 was 15, 177, up to 16, 289 in 2016).   

tallahassee criminal defense

tallahassee drug crime lawyerBut you get the idea. 

LCSO setting up a “crime fighting center . .. to monitor trends”?  TPD getting new headquarters?  Money on updating technology?  SAO going paperless?  Don’t see how those fight crime – process cases and have nice comfy digs, yes.  But on the streets?  Don’t see a concrete law enforcement plan in the article, other than the LCSO SPIDER squad (my experience is those aggressive “specialized” units usually produce lots of motion to suppress work for the criminal defense attorney for Fourth Amendment violations).

KUDOS, however, to the community for its efforts to help itself:

The community has also stepped up efforts to address the underlying social factors driving crime.

The city of Tallahassee started a program focusing on young men and women not in the workforce but most likely, according to data, to be involved in crime.

The TEMPO (Tallahassee Engaged in Meaningful Productivity for Opportunity) program, run by former school principal Kimball Thomas and funded by community partnerships, tries to enroll those individuals ages 16 to 24 who are out of school or out of work and offers them an outlet away from a lifestyle of crime.

Last month, safety cameras, which are not actively monitored, were installed in a south side neighborhood where data shows a high number of crime happens.

A legion of neighborhoods have stepped up in a movement to take personal responsibility of their streets. The idea is that if the people who live there show they care, they can improve their quality of life.

Part of making those improvements has been a push through the Neighborhood Public Safety Initiative to identify areas most susceptible to crime and underlying contributing factors.

A pilot program was launched in October in Griffin Heights and the Greater Frenchtown area to assess the level of blight, properties in need of improvement, sidewalk, streetlight and other amenity repairs and promote neighborhood beautification.

Not trying to be critical, just understand.  I think the citizens are getting it right, and local government should support those efforts.  If we spend more on helping people, and less on arresting them, crime will go down:

“This study found that the savings of supply-control programs are smaller than the control costs (an estimated 15 cents on the dollar for source-country control, 32 cents on the dollar for interdiction, and 52 cents on the dollar for domestic enforcement). In contrast, the savings of treatment programs are larger than the control costs; we estimate that the costs of crime and lost productivity are reduced by $7.46 for every dollar spend on treatment.”


Source: The focus on crime will continue into 2018

Tallahassee criminal courts in 2018 . . . what to expect

2017 was tough in Tallahassee criminal courts – while crime statistics were down (artificially so, it may be, as the rumor is that local law enforcement is purposely not making as many arrests in order to push the stat lower and raise Tallahassee’s poor reputation for being a crime-ridden city), big cases were up.  Tallahassee courts processed several high-profile cases- some of which ended in acquittals, some of which never went to trial and have been continued (the Markel murder trial), one of which (Segura) ended in a mistrial, and one that was investigated and not charged (the FSU fraternity death case).  We saw the establishment of a new veterans’ treatment court.

2017 saw laws change, and policy change – we saw the first year of a new Second Judicial Circuit prosecutor’s term, which always takes adjustment on both sides.  Jack Campbell seems to be working very hard to make the system better, and also seems to have a good compass as to what needs to be done.  We wish him well in 2018!

In 2018, expect to see the legislature continuing to be “tough on crime” and continue its quest to make EVERYTHING in Florida illegal.  Segura will be retried, to the great expense of Leon County citizens.  The FSU fraternity case will either end, or there will be charges.  The Markel case may not get tried, because the out-of-town attorneys for the defense can’t seem to get it ready.  DUI arrests will likely go up, and I sense that financial crime arrests and prosecutions will also increase (there has been a slight rise ongoing for some time).

As a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney, I plan to continue to provide the best service possible to my clients.  My book, Florida Criminal Cases Notebook (James Publishing) should be out in early 2018.  Another book that is being completed, Cross Examination in a Nutshell (West Academic) should be out in the late spring.  James Publishing and I are looking at another book to come out in late 2018, on the topic of Florida Criminal Procedure.  We tried several jury trials in 2017 – all of which were acquittals.  That’s a rarity (even for me!), and while we hope it will continue in 2018, we are going to hope for the best and continue to prepare for anything.

We wish you a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2018!

Drew Peterson defense team commenting on Casey Anthony

The Huffington Post has an article about Drew Peterson (who is charged with killing one wife and suspected of killing another wife) commenting, through his attorneys, about the Anthony acquittal.  The Peterson defense team approved of the verdict, commenting, “The jury’s job is not to act emotionally. A jury’s job is to evaluate whether or not the government has sufficient evidence, and it looks like in the Casey Anthony case they felt the government did not have sufficient evidence to prove their case.”

In the new era of online news and social media coverage, this is an interesting move.  We will have to wait to see what, if any, impact these comments will have on Peterson’s trial.  I probably would not have done anything to link, in any way, my client to Casey Anthony (arguably one of the most unpopular people in the world).  The comments were benign and should not draw any ire.  Maybe the comments caught my eye in light of the Anthony team’s use of online comments to monitor public opinion/sentiment and tailor their arguments.

As I posted last week on Twitter, we are in a new era, where social media plays a part in the preparation of high-profile trials.  Perhaps the Peterson defense team knows EXACTLY what they are doing, and are trying to send a message to potential jurors to be open-minded, unemotional, and fair.  If that is the case, it may end up being a brilliant move.

The question becomes, what happens to all those defendants who are going to trial on cases with NO media coverage.  Is it fair that those defendants don’t have access to the media.  Who knows.  We’ll see. . .

"Deadbeat dad scrambles to explain driving without a license" (LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE, sayeth the bLAWgger)

A slow news day in Tampa.

This is on the front page of www.tbo.com. Another story that no one gives a rat’s butt about. So the guy owes back child support. So he’s driving. So the ex-wife is sour grapes about who-knows-what. Big fat hairy deal. What else ya got? LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE, TBO!

Mark Douglas finds this story newsworthy? His editors think he’s on to something? And, it’s on the freakin’ front page??? Please.

NEWS FLASH: No one cares about this type of case. Why not investigate DCF as to why Richard McTear was allowed around a 17-year-old mother before grabbing her baby and running off with it (allegedly)? Why not investigate why the County Commission is cutting the Sheriff’s budget on a yearly basis, and for what? Why not hold public officials accountable for where our money goes, what decisions they make, and more salient social issues?

Mark, we are no so dumb that all you have to bring us is Springeresque stories. Or, what YOU think is Springeresque. Jerry Springer would laugh you out of the studio with this case. No one hit anyone with a chair, so you are missing the mark, kid.

No, no. . . . nothing important to report. Instead, Mark Douglas is going to chase around a guy who has to drive to make a living, who has ponied up $10K to the ex, and who spent 112 days in jail because HIS LICENSE WAS SUSPENDED FOR CHILD SUPPORT. That’s the only law he broke – driving with a suspended license. And. apparently, the current wife likes him and the ex is the only one . . . complaining (yeah, that’s the NICE word for it).

Scott Andringa is a fine attorney, and apparently, a gentleman. The bLAWgger would have given you some words that would have required blue ink. That means cussing, for those of you in Pinellas Park.

Is it a slow news day in Tampa, or what? Leave people alone, and bring us something newsworthy. Yes, I read your paper. I read it FOR FREE online, and do not have a subscription. So, please don’t start charging for Internet access – I won’t be able to call you out on your lousy stories.

Deadbeat dad scrambles to explain driving without a license

Give Vick (and everyone else) a chance!

Give ex-cons who’ve paid their debt a fair chance.

Give a guy a break. Michael Vick is free, and ready to start over.

The way I see it, he is no different than any of my clients who do wrong, and pay their debt to society. He admitted his guilt, and paid his price. It should be over!

I see people commit violent crimes, such as aggravated battery (which means using a deadly weapon, causing serious injury, or hitting a pregnant woman). I see people threaten others with guns and knives. I see oodles of domestic violence cases.

Those are crimes against HUMAN BEINGS.

Was Vick’s prosecution a response to public outcry and lack of perspective? I certainly think so, but that is water under the bridge. He accepted his sentence and served it without a hitch. And, now he should be welcomed back into society like any other ex-con.

The measure of the man will be what he does with his second chance. That’s the measure of anyone in his situation. If he avails himself of it, then he has been rehabilitated, and case closed. Time will tell. Until then, leave him alone. And give everyone who has paid their debit to society a fair chance.