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Author Archives: Jay Butchko

CrimJustice2

Meet Dimethylpentylone, Florida’s Newest Designer Drug

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

The idea of designer drugs is nothing new, but drugs come and go from the drug supply so quickly that to trace their prevalence in South Florida from the time of the 60s counterculture through the disco age, the “Just Say No” era, the heyday of shady strip mall pain clinics and the hideous… Read More »

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Arrested11

Brady Disclosures and Florida Criminal Cases

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

The rights of defendants in criminal cases have been part of United States law since the Bill of Rights was codified, but several Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s made the rules clearer about what constitutes a violation of a defendant’s rights.  In a Dick Tracy comic strip from the 1960s, the cartoon detective… Read More »

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Judge

What Does It Mean When the Prosecution Terminates Your Charges

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Judges in criminal court look plenty scary with their black robes, their gavels, and their somber expressions, but so much of the outcome of a criminal case is not up to them.  Yes, they get to decide which evidence is admissible, and they have the final decision about which jurors will get to participate… Read More »

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Interrog

Don’t Fall for the Reid Technique

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Somewhere in your nightmares, a scary monster tells you about something bad that has happened.  Your mind starts to race with worries, but the monster’s affect remains neutral; somehow, this makes the situation even scarier.  The monster leaves the room for a few minutes, but then he comes back and starts talking to you… Read More »

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CourtroomScales

Probable Cause Hearings

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Police sometimes arrest people for no good reason.  Unfortunately, protesting in the moment that you did not do anything wrong and the officer had no reason to arrest you does not make things better and usually makes them even worse.  The good news is that you do not always have to go all the… Read More »

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CrimJustice

Lack of Criminal Intent

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

The alibi defense is a nifty defense if you are being accused of a crime that requires you to be physically present.  If eyewitnesses claim that they saw you stealing or vandalizing property or selling drugs, but there are no photos to back up their claims, you can argue that the person they saw… Read More »

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AttyClientPriv

How Attorney-Client Privilege Can Help You in Your Criminal Case

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

You value your privacy, whether you realize this or not.  Many decisions have the underlying motivation of wanting to protect your privacy.  You think carefully about what you post publicly online, if anything.  Data privacy is a factor in many of your online behaviors, from your choice of software to the cookie settings you… Read More »

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Alibi

A Good Old-Fashioned Alibi Is Sometimes Your Best Defense

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

In a dinner theater murder mystery, all of the characters have a motive to commit the crime, and only some of them have an alibi.  Likewise, when you play parlor games on rainy afternoons at summer camp, one of them often involves coming up with creative alibis to explain why you did not commit… Read More »

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CrimDef13

Confidential Informants: How to Be One, and What to Do If One Testifies Against You

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Confidential informants add exciting twists to movies about crime and criminal investigations; depending on whether the story is told from the point of view of a defendant or a prosecutor, informants are either low down, rotten snitches or underdog heroes.  Police often rely on tips from confidential informants in drug trafficking investigations, and sometimes… Read More »

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GavelScales

Counter Arguments Are Possible for Almost Every Piece of Evidence

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

When you enter a plea of not guilty, you are claiming that you did not commit the crime of which you are being accused.  Your next step is to find ways to persuade the jury that there is reasonable doubt about your guilt; remember that, if the jury is not sure whether you committed… Read More »

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CrimDef7

Mistrials and Florida Law

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

When a filmmaker ends a movie on an ambiguous or anticlimactic note, it is either annoying or a stroke of brilliance, depending on your perspective.  For example, in many scary movies, the main characters manage to avert the danger that forms the main plot of the story, only for the movie to suggest, in… Read More »

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GavelTrial

Pink Cocaine, a Miami Original That Is Less Original Than It Sounds

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

In the 1980s, Miami Vice granted a pop culture mystique to several aspects of Miami’s aesthetic that never would have been cool in the 1970s.  It wasn’t the obvious things, though, not the cops or the cocaine.  Police-themed shows have represented an astonishingly large percentage of programming throughout the television era, and cocaine was… Read More »

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Defense5

The Many Faces of Obstruction of Justice

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Federal and state laws outline very strict rules about how criminal cases are supposed to proceed, from start to finish.  The origin of these rules of criminal procedure go all the way back to the Bill of Rights, and case law has elaborated on them over the years; every time someone appeals a verdict… Read More »

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CrimDef9

Can You Get Post-Conviction Relief?

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

To say that it is a disappointment to hear a jury declare you guilty at a criminal trial is an understatement, but the story does not always end there.  It is true that most defendants, after pleading guilty or being convicted at trial, are eager to get through their sentences so that they can… Read More »

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CrimLawyer3

Affirmative Defenses

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

A defendant’s interaction with the criminal court is less like a coin flip and more like a flow chart.  Deciding whether to plead innocent or guilty is not a simple “yes” or “no” question, even though it would seem that way if the only part of the proceeding that you saw was the part… Read More »

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Arrested5

The Entrapment Defense

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Is saying, “So-and-so made me do it” a valid defense to criminal charges?  If you claim that someone else induced you to commit a crime, you are acknowledging that you committed the crime, but at the same time, you are denying responsibility.  As defense strategies go, it seems like a rookie move.  When two… Read More »

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DomeViol3

South Florida Rapper Accused of Domestic Violence Against Wife and Infant Daughter

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

On reality television, people play a fictionalized version of themselves.  It is easy to idealize or, conversely, to have a one-sided love-hate relationship with the cast members, because they seem like fictional characters.  In fact, many former cast members of reality TV shows are relieved when the season ends and they can go back… Read More »

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Palm Beach County Doctor Acquitted of Sexual Battery of Patient

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Being under investigation for an alleged crime is no fun, but remember that, unless and until you plead guilty or a jury unanimously finds you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot receive criminal penalties.  Sometimes legal investigations go on for years, but the burden of proof is on the state even to file… Read More »

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DrugArrest2

Charged With A Drug Crime?

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

Schedule I controlled substances are the most illegal of illegal drugs.  They do not have any legally approved medical uses, and it is illegal to possess them under any circumstances.  By contrast, the drugs on the other four schedules have at least one legally acknowledged medical application.  In other words, what the drugs on… Read More »

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Courtroom2

Federal Target Letters

By Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC |

If you get a piece of correspondence from a court, it is natural to worry and to expect the worst.  You do not want to get a letter from the court unless it is in the context of a current legal case that you initiated.  For example, it is a relief when the court… Read More »

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