Florida effectively has no death penalty right now. First, the procedure that had been in effect for years was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, in the Hurst decision. Then, the legislature rushed through a new law to try to fix it, but the new law also failed to require a unanimous recommendation by the jury, and the Florida Supreme Court struck it down, as well. A new bill seeks to correct that shortcoming.
This bill in the State Senate is the first step in changing the law to make a lawful death penalty. The Florida House would also have to pass a law, and then for it to be signed by the governor before the State can resume seeking the death penalty. Right now the death penalty is on hold, pending a new law. The House may end up looking at even more extensive changes to the death penalty when they take up the issue, probably in this upcoming session, as well. The legislature may also look at changes to the Stand Your Ground Law this year.
Today’s legal lesson- no full nudity at your funeral in China.
Wait, fully nude? The only reason that such a weird law is on the books must be that there was a problem in the past. Apparently it has become common to have the most outlandish possible funeral procession, and that frequently means including pole dancers in the funeral. Apparently, gangsters started the practice of having strippers perform, and it has become more acceptable in many part of China and Taiwan. At the recent funeral for a politician in Taiwan, the procession included 50 pole dancers hired by the son of the deceased, all riding colorful jeep outfitted with poles on the roof. The Chinese government has tried to curb the practice, hence the law against full nudity.
This kind of reminds me of people who were propped up at their own funerals.
Here’s more video about the recent outlandish funeral in Tawian:
Marijuana: Kinda, Sorta, partially legal
Yes… sort of. It is legal to possess marijuana in Florida, only if you have a valid prescription. Only a few dispensaries have been approved, so it will be very difficult to buy it. And getting a prescription will not be that easy, as you have to see a doctor for months before it can be prescribed, and even then, insurance will not be covering it. While voters had their say to legalize medical marijuana, the state has not worked out all the details yet. Also, the Federal government still has marijuana as a scheduled controlled substance, so even if Florida might allow it, the Feds do not.
This has no bearing on recreational marijuana. Possession of any amount of marijuana is a criminal offense in Florida, punishable by up to a year in jail, and with a mandatory driver’s license suspension for anyone convicted. Even if you don’t get jail time, you lose your license.
NBC-2 posted the story online that included my interview about the use of cell-phone tower imitators, that go by the brand name of Stingrays, and how they are being used to collect people’s data. There are still a lot of questions about the use of these devices, in part because the government is being so secretive about it. In many cases, their use can be legal, but they should definitely implement oversight, and get oversight from the courts by seeking warrants when they are being used.
For more in the issue, USA Today has been following the issue, and has a section devoted to it, here: http://www.usatoday.com/topic/f764896f-76b5-4789-a58e-e333b9b5bcfc/cellphone-surveillance/
And here is the NBC-2 story from last night: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/34124137/cell-phone-interceptors-used-by-govt-agency-to-gather-information
“Rambo” the Alligator
Lakeland resident Mary Thorn has been granted permission to keep her pet alligator, Rambo. She’s had him for more than a decade, and he lives in her home. He’s famous in Lakeland, as he’s made appearances at local events: Thorn dresses him up like Santa and in other outfits.
Thorn has had a permit for Rambo, but a recent law states that gators over 6 feet must have at least 2.5 acres of land. Thorn was given permission to keep him, with the caveat that she can no longer take him out to public events. I haven’t been able to find the specifics of the ruling, but presumably Thorn was able to grandfather him in, since she had him for so long before the rule was passed.
Attorney Spencer Cordell
This week the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a bipartisan report calling for standards on how cell-phone tower simulators, known as Stingrays, are used by government agencies. We don’t know how extensively they are being used, or even how much data they are able to collect: not just from criminals, but from average citizens whose phones get caught up. We do know there have been abuses in the past.
NBC-2 is doing a story tonight, and I may show up with some comments. The Stingray, and the secrecy around the agencies’ use of the technology is troubling. There are legal means to use technology, the most straightforward is just to get a warrant. We encourage standards and oversight, especially in Florida, which leads the country in Stingray use.
Tune in to NBC-2 tonight at 6 p.m.
The Stolen Gator
A Sarasota resident was surprised when an Alligator wandered into his yard. He didn’t need to be scared, because the gator’s mouth was already taped up. It appears the gator had recently been trapped, but that the gator had then been stolen. I guess the thief ended up with a little more than he bargained for!