Federal and Florida state authorities say that 29 people were charged and indicted for a variety of crimes including racketeering, drug trafficking and firearms violations by convicted felons. If convicted, they could face many years in prison. Of those who were indicted, 23 of them reportedly belonged to a gang called the Latin Kings.
Every person who is charged with a crime enjoys certain Constitutional rights. One of those rights is the right to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law, using the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt". This right means that the burden to prove that a person committed the charged offense rests squarely on the prosecutor. In other words, the prosecutor must prove the person's guilt rather than the defendant establishing innocence.
News sources in Florida report that a woman was charged with felony possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana following a traffic stop on March 16. According to sources, the woman was riding in the passenger seat of a car that a local law enforcement official pulled over in Fort Walton Beach after it almost caused a collision with another vehicle. When the officer approached the car, he detected what he described as a "strong odor" of marijuana emanating from its interior.
Police in Florida arrested several people on drug charges as a result of an investigation that has been ongoing for several months. Law enforcement officials say the investigation will continue, and they expect more arrests to be made in the near future. The 20 convicted felons arrested as a result of "Operation No Trap Zone" now face 47 felony charges as of March 3. The investigation and arrests were carried out by the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.
Florida police say they detained 47-year-old rapper Vanilla Ice on burglary charges after he took several items from a home near a residence he is renovating. Vanilla Ice, whose legal name is Robert Van Winkle, says that the situation is a misunderstanding that will be cleared up. He is the host of a show on the DIY network in which he renovates houses.
A man in Florida was accused of robbing a Publix liquor store on Feb. 2 and then robbing a 7-Eleven convenience store on Feb. 3. When the 30-year-old man was detained after the second robbery, police determined that he was the same man who was involved in the first robbery. He received a charge for robbery with a weapon and another charge for armed robbery.
Although all citizens are entitled to privacy, there are times when police may engage in searches or seizures of property. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says that police may engage in such activity if there is reason to believe that a crime has occurred. Furthermore, police must believe that evidence of the crime will be uncovered during a search.
According to news sources, a third person has now been taken into custody in connection with the stabbing death of a Ft. Lauderdale resident in August 2014. Sources report that BSO's Fugitive Squad successfully tracked the at-large 24-year-old man to an undisclosed location, and he was apprehended on Dec. 22. Previously, a 23-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were each served warrants on Nov. 17 for the role investigators believe that they played in the murder.
Florida residents may have experienced some of the controversy that came with a high-profile murder in August. The grand jury's decision in November not to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., over the killing of an unarmed teenager has demonstrated several important concepts within the American justice system. Legal observers agree that the method in which the grand jury phase of the police officer's trial was administered appeared unusual.