10 years ago I posted my first blog on here. 1,322 posts later we’re still going strong. Not as strong as I used to- I post much less frequently nowadays between keeping busy with the job and growing kids that have gotten involved in all kinds of activity. Thanks to everyone that has sent me post ideas over the years, I wish I could have written a post for all of them. WordPress tells me I’ve had over 285,000 page views and over 180,000 unique visitors, which is kind of crazy.
I thought the anniversary might be a good time for a little trip down memory lane.
My all time most viewed post was a legal update: “”Important Changes to Florida’s DUI Laws: Legistlative Update 2013“
Some of the more popular subjects over the years were Zimmerman, Amanda Knox, NFL Cheerleaders, and Ashley Toye (of the Cash Feenz cases). Also, the Sievers case got a lot of attention, though it didn’t seem to have the national appeal that drove up numbers on the others.
One of my favorite subjects was the shark trial, where a man claimed self-defense for taking a shark: “The Shark Trial Recap“
Self-defense has been one of the more interesting repeat topics we’ve discussed on crimcourts, probably in part due to timing. I started writing this not too long after the Stand Your Ground Law has been enacted, and the Florida courts have been a trying ground for that policy. Also, being Florida, we’ve seen self-defense claimed for Bears, the aforementioned shark, and even an iguana.
Sometimes I like to think it would be fun to do videos, but I really don’t have the time. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to spend on the blog, as it has been fun, but I’ll keep posting whenever I can find time so follow me here and on Twitter.
Posted in Florida, Whimsy
Tagged alligators, amanda knox, crimcourts, dui, george zimmerman, iguana, new laws, sarah jones, shark, theresa sievers
Juveniles who complete court-ordered diversion programs for several types of charges will now be able to get those records expunged. A bipartisan effort passed the legislature unanimously and was signed into law by Governor DeSantis a few weeks ago. It does not extend to forcible felonies. This is limited to those who complete diversion, which generally involves first-time offenders with non-violent charges that are ultimately dropped upon completion of the diversion programs.
This is another good step to meaningful criminal justice reform. I’d like to see all charges that get dropped eligible for expungement. Right now, some adult charges for people who are acquitted, or even not filed on, cannot be expunged if the alleged offender has a prior conviction, even if it is unrelated. Imagine being acquitted of a false allegation only for the arrest to remain a public record. More work needs to be done for criminal justice reform, but it is always good to see progress.
*Update*- There are indications on the internet that the article I cited as a good explainer was plagiarized from an earlier Tweet-thread by Natalie Whittingham Burrell: @natlawyerchic on Twitter. Ms. Whittingham Burrell’s thread predates the ATL article – she posted on June 2, per Twitter. ATL indicates in an Ed note that they received the draft article on June 3. So, while the language is different, the issues raised, the discrepancies cited and even case law references are the same. I’m going to leave my post which references the Warshow article on ATL, but I’m going to add links to the Whittingham-Burrell thread, which, even if it was not plagiarized, had the scoop on ATL. Also, Ms. Whittingham-Burrell included some photographs in her thread that are very useful for context.
I was only able to watch small fractions of the trial, and edited posts on social media often don’t shed much light on the subject, so I’m happy to share a more thorough analysis. Out-of-context clips can give one a lopsided view of a trial, when it needs to be seen in totality to truly understand the verdict. I found an excellent explainer from Diana Warshow on Above the Law that really digs into the allegations and the evidence presented to the jury. This is about the most comprehensive one I’ve seen, and it addresses many of the questions I’ve heard about why the jury found in favor of Depp, despite Heard claiming evidence of injuries.
One issue this article doesn’t get into is the likability of witnesses, which goes heavily to their credibility. Johnny Depp is a huge movie star whose testimony was generally well-received by outside observers, judging by the social media reaction. Amber Heard, while being a move star in her own right, is not as well known or successful as Depp has been, and her testimony was not apparently as well-received by the general public as indicated on social media. In light of the verdict, one suspects that the perception of the testimony, both from a likability standpoint, and in light of contradictions pointed out in the ATL article, the jury certainly found Mr. Depp’s testimony more credible.
I’m not taking sides on Team Depp or Team Heard, but the jury who listened to weeks of testimony had a clear winner in awarding millions more to Mr. Depp.
Again, Twitter commentator Natalie Whittingham-Burrell had an excellent tweet-thread with some reasons why Depp won.