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

California Couple Used a Drone to Deliver Drugs (from Time)

Authorities say a drone delivered drugs to customers at a nearby parking lot. The customers would then drive by the couple’s home and throw their payments on the lawn.

One wonders what some people could do with their lives if they put their minds to that, rather than finding ways to break the law.

Source: California Couple Used a Drone to Deliver Drugs: Police | Time

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!

Florida Death Penalty update


The United States Supreme Court struck down the way Florida has imposed the death penalty (a separate jury proceeding after the guilt-phase of the murder trial, those jurors making a recommendation to the judge for or against the death sentence – which did not have to be unanimous, and then the judge weighing and ratifying their decision – or not). 

The process was deemed a violation of the right to a jury trial because of the involvement of the judge in that last part of the process.

The idea is that, as is the jury’s decision on guilt, the decision on the death sentence should be unanimous and without judge involvement.

Now, the Florida Supreme Court and Legislature have to figure out what to do…