Thursday, May 15, 2014

False Arrest Verdict

The Florida Times-Union posted a story today about a local case that shows cause for concern.  The following excerpt offers the nuts and bolts.  Follow the link after for the full write-up:
Last month, a jury decided that two Jacksonville sheriff’s officers falsely arrested and battered Dubose during his July 2004 arrest. The jury awarded him about $370,000 — more than he asked for and also more than the law allows him to receive.
“This proves, as we argued in trial, that we need some kind of civilian oversight,” Fallis said. “You need some kind of civilian oversight otherwise it’s out of control.”

Lawyers' Top Ten Pet Peeves

I came across the following list, originally published in the Jacksonville Lawyer Magazine in 2007, that outlines lawyers' various pet peeves.  I can't say these are my personal pet peeves (or Gerry's) but it's a fun glance into the "stress" of the profession.
  1. Promptness
    • Not returning another lawyer's call promptly;
    • Not responding to a lawyer's correspondence;
    • Untimely responses to discovery requests.
  2. Being Unacommodating
    • Cancelling depositions or scheduling them at the last minute;
    • Being difficult when scheduling;
    • Refusing to cancel matters when opposing counsel has a family crisis.
  3.  Lack of Manners
    • Failing to introduce oneself to opposing counsel;
    • Incivility and lack of respect for fellow counsel;
    • Being rude to opposing counsel or counsel's staff.
  4.  Inadequate Communication
    • Sending a fax at night to opposing counsel on a matter coming before the court the morning after.  Also, keeping a firm's fax machine turned off and requiring "permission" to send a fax, which includes having to explain what the fax is about;
    • Ending letters with, "I remain, very truly yours."
    • Failing to put a fax number and email address on pleadings and correspondence.
  5.  Discovery Matters
    • Denying possession of evidence when in fact they are withholding it properly;
    • Not producing documents in response to a request for production in a timely, organized, and orderly manner;
    • Producing duplicate copies of documents, making the production appear larger.
  6.  Inadequate Consequences - Lack of Sanctions
    • When opposing counsel blatantly violates court orders and repeatedly delays discovery, and the judge fails to sanction such conduct.
  7.  Inadequate Motions and Pleadings
    • Lack of brevity in briefs;
    • Filing memoranda of law on significant motions and then showing up at the hearing only to argue case law not in the brief as the crux of their argument;
    • Creating "strawman" arguments advocating "red herring" issues;
    • Failing to city authority forming the basis for a motion.
  8.  Unfair Hearing Practices
    • Bringing case law to a hearing either without copies for opposing counsel, or with highlighted copies for the judge, but not opposing counsel.
  9.  Judges Shouting
  10.  Mischaracterization 
    • Mischaracterizing opposing counsel's oral statements in a responsive written correspondence.

United States v. Harrell

United States v. Harrell


Judge: Jordan
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
Defendants Harrell and Dantzle appealed from their convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery; two counts of robbery in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951(a); and two counts of having used, carried, or possessed a firearm in relation to the robberies in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). The court concluded that Harrell met his burden in establishing that the district court's violation of Rule 11(c)(1), by improperly participating in the parties' plea negotiations, constituted reversible plain error. The district court vacated the conviction and allowed Harrell to withdraw his guilty plea on remand. The court also directed that the case be reassigned. The court concluded that, although the district court abused its discretion in allowing the government to present expert testimony from a detective with respect to cell phones and cell towers, the testimony was harmless because it did not affect Dantzle's substantial rights. The court rejected Dantzle's remaining arguments. Accordingly, the court affirmed Dantzle's convictions and sentence.

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