An attorney-client partnership is an important one. There are going to be ups and downs in your relationship. You want and need to be comfortable at the outset so you can be comfortable when your case comes to a conclusion. If you can't like and respect your attorney, the relationship will fall apart.
Attorneys William Sheppard, Elizabeth L. White, Matthew R. Kachergus & Bryan E. DeMaggio have been admitted to the Southern District of Florida.
I am often asked why so many criminal defense attorneys oppose the death penalty. Beside the fact that the death penalty is grossly ineffective, with the cost of capital litigation far exceeding that of imprisonment for life, defense practitioners see up close and personal the individuals who ultimately receive a sentence of death. The poor, the disenfranchised, those unable to obtain adequate legal representation are the disproportionate "beneficiaries" of the death penalty lottery.
In a case of great significance, this week the Florida Supreme Court rejected the use of evidence obtained through the warrantless search of a cell phone. In Smallwood v. Florida, ___ So.3d ___, 38 Fla.L.Weekly 5271a (Fla. May 2, 2013), a case originating in Duval County, the accused was charged with armed robbery of a convenience store. After identifying a potential suspect in the robbery, an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Smallwood and, during the course of his arrest, seized a cell phone from him. Without first obtaining a search warrant, the officer proceeded to access and search data on the phone, which led to the discovery of five photographs allegedly linking Mr. Smallwood to the robbery. These photographs were admitted at Mr. Smallwood's trial and he was convicted.
Sheppard, White and Kachergus, P.A. proudly announces the addition of Jonathan Graessle to the firm. Mr. Graessle joined the firm in 2013, after clerking with the firm every summer during law school. Mr. Graessle graduated from the Bolles School in 2005. A "Double Gator," he attended the University of Florida, as a Florida Academic Scholar, where he earned his undergraduate degree, with honors, in political science. He also received a certificate in public leadership from the Bob Graham Center. He then earned his law degree, again with honors, from the University of Florida College of Law.
When I first began practicing criminal defense law in 1980, it was literally a different world. We were a band of brothers1 seeking justice for our clients. We were in it for love, not money,2 and truly believed our efforts mattered. And you know what? They did matter. Whether it was keeping a young kid out of jail for smoking weed or stopping an imminent execution, our collective efforts made a difference to the lives of countless people.