Jury Duty – What’s Your Excuse?

The dog ate my jury summons? Tourette’s Syndrome? Allergic to the courtroom carpet fibers? The dog will bark if I am gone during the day? SpaceX has stranded me on the Space Station? Dated one of the attorneys trying the case? Dated the judge? Dated the defendant? I am the Governor of the State of Florida? My dog is the Governor of the State of Florida? While some people have a legitimate qualification to be excused from jury duty, others do not.  Furthermore, some excuses may be more effective than others to get your fined and held in contempt of court. On the other hand, jury duty allows you to have active participation in the fair administration of justice. Most people would rather be fishing than to be in court, especially facing legal action against them—that is when they need their peers.  Jury Duty lets you help decide the fate of people in your community.  The Sixth Amendment gives us the right to trial by jury, and your service as a juror makes that right possible.  As a juror, you can change the outcome of a trial.   Read More

Superhero of Justice: Jury Duty

Qualifications for Jury Duty include the following: Breathing At least 18 years old Florida driver’s license or state identification Legal resident of Florida and the county Show up when you are summoned Even if you meet all the qualifications, you might not be selected to serve, or you may have a reason to be excused.  Either way, you still need to respond to a Jury Summons. Many people would rather be at the beach rather than in court, especially if they are the ones facing legal action against them—that is when they need their peers.  Jury Duty lets you help decide the fate of people in your community.  The Sixth Amendment gives us the right to trial by jury, and your service as a juror makes that right possible. You do not need a cape, but when you serve on a jury, you do your part to be a superhero of justice.  Thank you, Jurors.   Read More

No ‘Undo’ Feature in Criminal Justice

Gmail has a new feature which allows you to “undo” sending a message.  When you enable “Undo Send” in our Gmail settings, Gmail holds the message a few seconds in case you have second thoughts.  Too bad criminal actions do not have this feature. We do NOT have the technology that lets you commit a crime, then take it back.  Furthermore, if you are arrested for it, that arrest record is likely to stick around a long time.  But we do have a criminal justice system that allows you to defend yourself. The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is deemed so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. Use your Sixth Amendment right.  The law is technical, and from a technical standpoint there are things you can mess up that will hurt what you are trying to accomplish.  Seek competent legal counsel to properly assert your rights.   Read More

Living in Captivity on Salisbury Steak

The Department of Corrections provides meals, housing, and a limited wardrobe—all within a gated community.  Regardless of the fine amenities offered to the guests of the State, you may want to exercise your Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel before you learn first-hand what day of the week features Salisbury steak. Captivity as a penalty for crime is a fairly modern concept.  Before that, they just executed people.  Once European countries had to quit sending their bad populous to America, prison systems gained popularity, and even a spirit of rehabilitation. I have been to jail many times…but not as an overnight guest of the State.  Regardless of all the reading time and the team-building opportunities you could capitalize on while inside, the loss of freedom is more than an exclusion of distractions.  If you have legal issues that involve a major fine or jail time, seek competent legal representation.  A defense attorney can help you work with the prosecution on choices to get the best resolution possible from unfortunate circumstances.   Read More

Right to Legal Counsel

Right to Legal Counsel The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to legal counsel even if you cannot afford it.  Just because you are poor does not mean you are guilty, nor does it mean you are denied fair access to justice.   Clarence Earl Gideon hand wrote a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Accused of larceny, he had been forced to face his accusers in court without legal counsel because he could not afford an attorney and his was not a capital case.  Gideon wrote in pencil on prison stationary arguing that his Sixth Amendment rights, as applied by the Fourteenth Amendment, had been violated.  Gideon won. The Supreme Court ruled that the right to legal representation is fundamental to the right to a fair trial.  Gideon’s victory is a win for all defendants, giving them access to legal counsel regardless of wealth, education, or class, and with no specification for the type of case—capital or non-capital. Sometimes the police are wrong.  You have the right to legal counsel.  If you do not exercise that right, then you are subject to a one-sided case against you.  Seek competent legal counsel to properly assert your rights. Read More

Defense Attorneys – Why We Do What We Do

It is a dirty job, but somebody has to collect the legal fees!  And there is more to it. The problem is, there can be mistakes in procedure and mishandling of evidence.  The other problem is, the Prosecutors cannot do their jobs properly if Defense Attorneys fail to their jobs the right way…and then you could have a criminal walk.  The right to legal counsel is part of the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution along with the right to a fair trial.  Defense Attorneys are obligated to represent their clients to the best of their abilities not just for the sake of the Bar Oath, but also to ensure that justice is served. There are no guarantees in court.  If I could predict the outcome of trials, then I would quit being a lawyer and go play Lotto.  We guarantee nothing except the best representation we can give. Read More