For many people, especially those of certain age, life is lived in the social media spotlight. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become the popular way to communicate. Ordinary citizens are not the only people who use social media. User beware: If your friends can see your posting, so can law enforcement. A recent survey of agencies throughout the country found that over 80% of those agencies use social media in their criminal investigations. Lawyers also routinely use it to discover evidence about litigants, witnesses and even jurors.
Elizabeth White has been selected to join the Chester Bedell Inn of Court as a Master. The American Inns of Court, modeled after their English counterparts, were implemented to promote professionalism, ethical conduct and competent advocacy among lawyers. The Chester Bedell Inn of Court was the first Inn established in Florida and the fourteenth in the nation. For the past three years, it has achieved platinum status, the highest level of recognition available.
BREAKING NEWS! We have just learned that our clients have successfully challenged the same sex marriage ban in Florida. Judge Hinkle issued his 33 page opinion, today, declaring Florida's ban to be unconstitutional. In doing so he noted, " To paraphrase a civil-rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was first struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." In the words of Leonard Cohen, "hallelujah!"
Certain cases define moments in history and, for those lawyers fortunate enough to litigate such cases, the receipt of an order granting relief often feels like Christmas in summer. Therefore, it is with great pride and more than a little relief, that the members of this firm received Judge Hinkle's Order declaring Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The judge's entire order has been printed on this site. No additional words are necessary, except a deeply felt "thank you" to our Plaintiffs: James D. Brenner, Charles D. Jones, Stephen Schlariet, and Ozzie Russ.
What does the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent unrest in Ferguson have to do with the doctrine of qualified immunity? When a citizen wants to sue a police officer for excessive force, the first thing that person must overcome is the judicially created doctrine of "qualified immunity." Under that doctrine, local law enforcement personnel can be eligible for qualified immunity if they establish they were acting in their "discretionary capacity" during the alleged violations.
Today, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled unanimously that search and seizure of the contents of a cell phone during an arrest is an unreasonable search and seizure and is, therefore, unlawful. Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ___ (2014). This ruling resolves a longstanding circuit split over the cell phone search-incident-to-arrest doctrine, and mirrors the Florida Supreme Court's holding in Smallwood v. State, 113 So. 3d 724 (Fla. 2013), which we previously blogged about here.
The film, "Conversations on Catfish, Courtrooms and Change," about the life and career of Judge Henry L. Adams, Jr., has been selected by the Jacksonville Historical Preservation Commission as one of their 2014 Preservation Award recipients. The preservation program will be held
Sheppard, White, Kachergus & DeMaggio recently defended a man whose Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the St. John's County Sheriff's Office, when they illegally recorded a conversation between Joel Studivant and his attorney, inside the St. John's County Sheriff station. The Florida Times-Union has more:
The most recent case showing the magnitude of this problem can be found in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's use of the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Technical problems with this system have cost the State of Florida over $11 million and have resulted in delays in investigations and arrests throughout the State of Florida.
There is a common misconception that scientific evidence is infallible and the results of scientific testing are used to convict people for criminal offenses throughout this country on a daily basis. Many people do not realize undetected or undisclosed system errors are in fact sending innocent people to jail or prison. From the breathalyzer machine not properly maintained, inspected or used to now discounted hair analysis, which applied the wrong statistical probability of a match, we are now learning many supposedly infallible tests are "riddled with error."