Monthly Archives: October 2015

Attorney Charged for Punching His Own Client in Courthouse

Joseph Lopez, via Twitter

Joseph Lopez, via Twitter

Prominent Chicago defense attorney Joseph “The Shark” Lopez has been charged with battery for punching his client. Apparently he and the now-former client got in an altercation in a holding cell at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. Lopez is suggesting that he was acting in self-defense, but prosecutors apparently felt the battery charge, a misdemeanor, was warranted.

I wonder who his lawyer is going to be.

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Don’t Jump in the River when the Cops are Looking for You

Konstantinos Georgiou Mug Shot

Konstantinos Georgiou Mug Shot

Once again, the cover-up/aftermath was worse than the crime. Konstantinos Georgiou fled from the scene of a crash. He tried to commandeer a couple of people’s vehicles, before jumping off the bridge and into the Caloosahatchee River to evade officers. The marine units finally caught up to him, clinging to the bridge supports, and had to take him to the hospital.

The sad irony here is that the crash itself was not a crime, leaving the scene of the crash is only a misdemeanor… but trying to break into other peoples’ cars is a serious felony. Reports indicate he actually fought with the occupants of at least one vehicle, which makes the offense a Burglary with Battery, a Punishable by Life Felony (or PBL). His escape attempt is likely to land him in prison for many years; while the initial offense was relatively minor. He was lucky that officers located him and saved him from the river, it could have ended a lot worse after jumping off the bridge!

UPDATE: It’s extra dangerous to jump in the water in Florida, he wouldn’t have been the first to get caught by an alligator: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/man-flees-cops-is-caught-by-alligator/

UPDATE 2: The News-Press spoke to a witness who indicates that the suspect did run down to where the bridge gets closer to the water before he jumped in. (Also, photos added)

Caloosahatchee Bridge, from the Fort Myers River District, looking North

Caloosahatchee Bridge, from the Fort Myers River District, looking North

Yes, I Have Seen the Texas Law Hawk. No, It’s Not the Best Attorney Ad Ever

Several people have passed along ads from the “Texas Law Hawk”; an angry, shouting attorney from Fort Worth names Bryan Wilson. The ads are funny, for their ‘You cannot be serious, over-the-top schlockiness’. But they are not great.

You know who is actually brilliant? John Morgan, the ubiquitous, cloying personal injury attorney, who’s constant ads have expanded from Florida to air over most fo the Southeastern United States. His ads are not funny, but some of them are very effective. They also make me change the channel. One of my favorites is Kentucky attorney Daryl Isaacs, “the Heavy Hitter”… which he has trademarked. He used to go by the “Kentucky Hammer”, which is awesome. He did a whole series of commercials with Deebo, which is brilliant:

However, the all-time greatest attorney commercial is the short-form film from Jamie Casino. It’s got actual plot, plus special effects, biblical quotes, and a rockin’ soundtrack. This is so awesome, I have personally watched it more than Gangnam Style. Check it out:

Florida Needs to Seal All the Juvenile Records

Redacted Mug Shot of the 9-Year Old Child

Redacted Mug Shot of the 9-Year Old Child

Yesterday, a nine-year old boy was arrested for striking and threatening his family members. I found out about this because after he was arrested, his mugshot was published online. The mugshot was then picked up by one of the many mugshot publishing web outfits, which promptly put it on Facebook, where it was viewable by their thousands and thousands of subscribers. It then got picked up by other websites, which also re-published his name and photograph.

The News-Press covered the story, but had the editorial restraint not to publish the boy’s name or photograph. I have also edited the photograph, and will not be publishing the boy’s name.

To be clear, there has been nothing improper. The child was charged with several felonies (though he has not been convicted at this time, and it is rather unlikely that the State Attorney’s office will seek to convict him.) Prosecutors will likely be most concerned with getting him counseling to head off a lifetime of violence. But, due to the charges, it is permissible for the Sheriff’s office to publish the photograph. Thanks to First Amendment rights, once media outlets are in possession of the information, they are allowed to publish it. I commend the News-Press from declining to identify the child, though they lawfully could have done so.

I think what’s at issue here is the fact that juvenile arrests are not confidential under Florida law. The criminal case file will be confidential, including the convictions of delinquency for any child unless they are prosecuted as an adult. Ironically, if alternative sanctions are pursued, or the charges dropped, the disposition of the case is not available to the general public. However, the arrest information, including the mug shot and initial charges, are public information. And in this boy’s case, they are out on the internet, and liable to follow him for the rest of his life, regardless of the outcome of the case.  That’s the state of the law in Florida, at this time.

I am a strong defender of the First Amendment, and of the openness of government records. However, if there is anything that should not be public record, and there are quite a few protected areas under the law, criminal allegations against children should almost certainly be included. We won’t let the public know when children are found to be delinquent… but we’ll put their picture on display regardless of whether the charges are even pursued. It’s counter-intuitive to publish one and not the other. The legal discrepancy doesn’t make sense, and this law is a candidate for the Worst Laws in Florida.

Curtis Wayne Wright Booked in Lee County Jail, 1st Suspect in the Theresa Sievers Murder

Curtis Wayne Wright's Lee County Mug Shot

Curtis Wayne Wright’s Lee County Mug Shot

Curtis Wayne Wright was booked into the Lee County Jail last night, and is being held without bond. He was recently extradited from Missouri to face charges in the murder of Dr. Theresa Sievers, who was found killed in her Bonita Springs home, June 29. The other suspect who has been charged, Jimmy Rodgers, is serving a Federal violation of probation sentence, and will be brought down to Florida after he completes that sentence.

Wright’s arraignment is set November 16, though all that will happen then is he will enter a not guilty plea. In the meantime, the state could call a grand jury to consider an indictment for First Degree Murder, if the evidence supports it: which could lead to a possible death sentence. Sometime after the arraignment, the discovery will be released, which will finally make more of the details public record.

It Happened! DUI on a Motorized Wheelchair

Ronny HIcks

Ronny HIcks

Ronny Hicks, a man from Palm Bay, Florida, was arrested this week and charged with driving under the influence… while he was riding on an electric wheelchair. We have covered a lot of Weird DUI cases here on Crimcourts, from the guy in Scotland on a bouncy ball, to a man not long ago in Punta Gorda who got a DUI on a lawnmower… but this may take the cake. I personally worked on a case for a DUI on a tricycle, a few years back, and this tops it. (EDIT: No, the wheelchair coes not need to be motorized under Florida law.)

The problem with the charge is that the wheelchair is a necessary device for the man to get around. If he can’t be drunk on it… he can’t be drunk. It is a hard case to convince a jury to convict on. However, the incident happened in public, and he was apparently obstructing other people with his vehicle. Basically, any device on wheels is a vehicle under Florida law, and subject to DUI sanctions. Because this is his third offense, he could potentially be facing felony charges.

Also, hope he gets that head wound treated, though he apparently refused treatment at the time of arrest. Read about more WeirdDui cases here.

Attorney Collapses in Midst of Murder Trial

We extend wishes for a speedy recovery to local attorney Dan Gerleman, who collapsed in court yesterday in the middle of his client’s murder trial. The trial has been continued until next week to see how Mr. Gerleman is doing.