Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors At Law
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Cases of Interest Archives

Dog Searches: Can Two Police Officers Do What One Cannot?

The use of dogs to sniff out contraband remains one of the most frequent methods by which police discover contraband in vehicles traveling on the highway. The Supreme Court has allowed such searches in limited circumstances, but only in those instances where there is not a delay between the stop and the dog's arrival. Anything beyond a brief delay constitutes a seizure, which requires probable cause to be lawful. This "time-limiting doctrine" was firmly adopted by the Supreme Court in Rodriguez v. United States.

Is It a Crime for a Sex Offender to Use the Internet?

Thousands of sex offenders have been prosecuted for engaging in activity which most of us take for granted. In many jurisdictions, it is a felony for a registered sex offender to access the internet for any reason. Some statutes also prohibit offenders from creating Facebook profiles using LinkedIn, or using any forms of social media. These prohibitions make it virtually impossible for offenders to even own a smartphone. They create great hardship, preventing people from seeking jobs, places to live, or even from communicating with family members. The recent Supreme Court case of Packingham v. North Carolina makes it clear that such blanket prohibitions will no longer withstand judicial scrutiny.

Pierce v. State: Can Police Lie to Obtain a Confession?

It has been conventional wisdom for many years that police are allowed to lie to obtain incriminating statements against a defendant. For instance, during interrogation, police can tell the accused that an eyewitness has identified him as the person who committed the crime. Police also commonly and falsely claim that a co-defendant has confessed and implicated the defendant in the crime. Under the reasoning of the recently decided Pierce v. State, FLW (Fla. 1st DCA, June 6, 2017), however, police cannot misstate the application of Miranda v. Arizona to obtain a confession.

A Mother's Death, a Botched Inquiry and a Sheriff at War

As is his practice, Mr. Bogdanich has written an extensively researched article about how Agent Rodgers became the object of a campaign to destroy his career and reputation. His offense was the refusal to rubber stamp the conclusions of a deeply flawed investigation into the death of Michelle O'Connel.

United States Supreme Court Issues New Qualified Immunity Decision in Police Shooting Case

Qualified immunity is one of the largest obstacles facing civil rights attorneys. The doctrine of qualified immunity gives police officers or other state actors immunity from suit in certain situations. To overcome the defense the plaintiff first needs to prove that (1) the defendant violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights; and (2) that the constitutional violation 

The Limits of "Knock-and-Talk" Police Encounters

The Fourth Amendment only applies residences when a police officer conducts a "search" of that residence. A common tactic that police officers use to get around the Amendment's protections is to use a technique called a "knock-and-talk." During these encounters, police officers will approach a residence, knock on the door, and try to get an occupant inside to speak with them. During that encounter, officers will either seek permission to enter the house (meaning that they do not need a warrant or probable cause) or will try to detect evidence of contraband in plain view from the doorway. 

Pennsylvania Court Recognizes Sexual-Orientation Harassment Claim Under Title VII

In August of this year, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission succeeded on a Title VII claim on behalf of an employee who was discriminated against due to sexual orientation. We wrote about that opinion in a previous blog post. Last month, they achieved a similar victory in Pennsylvania, marking the latest in a recent trend of federal courts across the nation recognizing that LGBT employees are subject to all of Title VII's protections. 

Florida Supreme Court Issues New Juvenile Re-Sentencing Decision

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court decided Kelsey v. State, the latest case to guarantee juvenile defendants serving long prison terms a chance at a new sentence. To understand the opinion, some background on juvenile resentencing in Florida is required. In the landmark decision of Graham v. Florida, the United States Supreme Court held that Florida's practice of giving juvenile offenders life sentences for non-homicide crimes violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. 

What Evidence of Prior Criminal History Can the Government Introduce Against Defendants Charged with Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm?

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Government generally cannot use evidence of a defendant's prior bad acts to prove that a defendant committed the crime charged. Under Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence states that evidence of crimes, wrongs or other acts are not admissible to prove a person's character to show that that they acted in accordance with that character on a particular occasion. Similarly, Rule 403 prohibits introducing evidence when its evidentiary weight would be substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence. 

Can Police Detain Innocent Passengers During a Traffic Stop?

The Fourth Amendment restricts when a police officer may stop a person. Generally, an officer must have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime in order to stop them. When police officers conduct a traffic stop, there is no question that they are allowed detain the driver. But what happens if one of the passengers of the vehicle wants to leave in the middle of the stop? 

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Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors at Law.
215 N. Washington Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: 904-701-0589
Phone: 904-727-7191
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Regular office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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