Category Archives: In News

Controversial Decision In Army Sex Case

A former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan was ordered Thursday to pay thousands of dollars, but avoided prison time, in a case that put a spotlight on the military’s handling of sexual misconduct among troops.

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was told he’d get a reprimand, and he must forfeit $20,000 and pay restitution of $4,157 related to travel fraud charges, his lawyer, Richard Scheff, said.

THELAW.TV spoke with West Palm Beach, Florida criminal defense lawyer Scott Holtz about the decision.

Scotus Allows Searches Based On Anonymous Tips

Anonymous tipsters have more credibility under a closely divided Supreme Court decision Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police can stop and search a driver based solely on an anonymous 911 tip. The 5-4 decision split the court’s two most conservative justices, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the majority and Justice Antonin Scalia penning the dissent.

THELAW.TV spoke with Lake Worth, Florida criminal defense Thomas Prestia about the ruling.

Florida City Wants To Seize Homeless Possessions

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is on the way to approving an ordinance that would allow the city to seize homeless people’s possessions.

From Sun-Sentinel:

Commissioners gave unanimous preliminary approval Tuesday to two measures, one prohibiting the improper disposal of human waste on public property, the other prohibiting the storage of personal possessions on public property. … People who leave belongings on public property for more than 24 hours could have the items confiscated. They could have to pay to get them back and the items could be discarded if not picked up within 30 days.

THELAW.TV spoke with Lake Worth, Florida criminal defense Scott Holtz about this issue.

Texas Student Gets 60 Days For Bringing Beer To School

A Texas high school student was suspended for bringing beer to school — by mistake.

Chaz Seale is a 17-year-old junior at Livingston High School north of Houston. He says he accidentally grabbed a beer from his fridge instead of a soda then packed it in his lunch, reports KTRK. When he realized what he did, he handed the can over to a teacher, but was turned into the principal anyway. The school says it has a zero-tolerance policy and suspended Seale for 3 days, in addition to 60 days at an alternative school.

THELAW.TV spoke with Lake Worth, Florida criminal defense attorney Thomas Prestia about this case.

THELAW.TV spoke with Lake Worth, Florida criminal defense attorney Thomas Prestia about this case.

Five Things Every Parent Should Know About Spring Break

Spring break is here. A week when the dreams of college kids across the country and the nightmares of far too many parents come true. While their children are excited for the alcohol, partying, and fun-in-the-sun, parents feverishly bite their fingernails worrying about the “what if” question. What if something goes wrong and my kid ends up in trouble with the law?

Here are five things you should keep in mind as your kids head off to the beach and all points sunny:

1. If you made a mistake, don’t make things worse.

Flowing booze, young college kids, and warm weather, it’s a dangerous cocktail that mixed in the right proportions can lead to all manner of bar fights and beach scrapes. A lot of them end up as classic YouTube fodder (something else you might want to remind your child about). But the old adage remains true: it’s all fun and games until the police get involved. Remind your children that once the uniforms show up or the sirens blare, they shouldn’t make things worse for themselves by trying to be a hero to their friends or make “a political statement.” The only thing that comes out of that is a bigger headache in the form of additional charges, such as resisting an officer with violence (a felony), resisting an officer without violence (a misdemeanor), or obstruction of justice (a misdemeanor).

2. Avoid having to make a return trip that isn’t for a vacation.

Most jurisdictions will not allow someone charged with a crime to plea in absentia (that is, without being present in the courtroom at the time of sentencing) and, in many jurisdictions, even if you arrange to dispose of a case by means of a diversion program (where you complete some community service hours, pay for any damages you caused, etc.), you might be allowed to complete the program out-of-state, but you also might be required to enroll in the program in person. Not such a big problem if you live in Miami and made a mistake in the Florida Keys. However, it can get pretty expensive having to fly back-and-forth from Milwaukee to Daytona Beach several times to take care of a legal problem.

3. They call it “jail bait” for a reason.

It’s safe to say if your kids are the type that are heading to a spring break hot spot this year, there’s a chance they might meet someone and strike up a casual relationship. The differences in appearance between 16 and 19 (or even 20-year-old kids) have increasingly blurred. So, Junior needs to be extra careful when offering to buy the cute girl a drink (if she’s under 18, that’s Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, usually a misdemeanor), and especially careful if he takes someone back to his hotel room. The law doesn’t care how old she said she was or how old he thought she was. If she’s underage, your son (or daughter) could be in a world of trouble, one that could even end in him (or her) having to register as a sex offender (depending on the circumstances and charges).

4. Weed isn’t legal, everywhere, yet (not even medicinally).

Seems like a pretty obvious concept, but if your son or daughter is the type to enjoy a puff or five every now and again, then it’s definitely something you should keep reminding them. The State of California may say that since you have “anxiety,” you can legally possess a small amount of the good stuff. However, overworked and exhausted Florida police officers who deal with these party goers every year will show no compassion and arrest your kid quicker than they can exhale that next puff. While the punishments set forth by the State Attorney’s Office are relaxed in places such as Miami, other areas, even just a few miles further north, such as Fort Lauderdale, treat simple possession of marijuana cases extremely differently, and, depending on the situation, may prosecute to the fullest extent the law allows.

5. Bring back a t-shirt, not a DUI.

Most people think the biggest problem with getting a DUI is facing jail time. However, potential jail time is merely the tip of the iceberg. In addition to sleeping next to Bubba for the night, your kid is also facing the hassles of having his/her license suspended or revoked, the extraordinary expenses the court system imposes, and having to complete all the probation requirements, such as school and community service hours. However, the biggest problem with getting a DUI is that it follows you like the plague, and as your number of DUIs goes up, the penalties grow stiffer and stiffer, until you’re looking at a felony and doing hard time in a state prison. What you need to tell your kids (in addition to the obvious, that such a crime is entirely avoidable by a small amount of planning) is that if they get a DUI while on spring break, even in a different state, the record will still be transmitted to their state of residence and put on their driving record there. That DUI will follow them all the way back to school and for the rest of their lives. It’s much better to bring back a different kind of souvenir.

Real Estate Problems For A Real Housewife

Reality TV star Joanna Krupa is facing the same problem as millions of Americans.

From the Toronto Sun:

Model Joanna Krupa is at risk of losing her Los Angeles home after bank officials filed foreclosure papers. The Real Housewives of Miami star has reportedly fallen behind on payments on the $725,000 mortgage she has for the property in Encino.

THELAW.TV spoke with Lake Worth, Florida foreclosure defense attorney Scott Holtz about this case.