The Sheppard, White, Kachergus, and DeMaggio team won another appeal in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week. The case involved race discrimination and retaliation claims against the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Our client, Captain Eric Mitchell, was the second-highest ranking officer at the department's training academy and was its only African-American employee at the time the incident occurred.
William Sheppard and Betsy White were interviewed last week by the Bar Bulletin Staff of the Daily Record about the recently filed complaint against Chief Judge Mahon and Sheriff Mike Williams as it relates to the unfair bail practices against misdemeanants.
A new case has come out of the circuit court in Miami denying the State's Motion to Obtain Oral Swabs from a gentleman who was charged with robbery of a drug store with a firearm. According to the State, he "gave a full post-miranda confession" and "lead officer to the location of a backpack which contained a plastic firearm and the stolen currency and the clothes he wore when the crime was committed."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.