I just did an interview with Stacey Deffenbaugh for ABC-7, discussing why the young man charged with causing a death after failing to stop for a school bus is in civil court and not criminal court. The story will likely air at 4 and/or 5 pm on ABC-7, and hopefully my comments are included.
Here’s an earlier story about the court hearing this morning. The family was understandably angry, due to the tragic loss of their son…
The court was certainly not saying the teen’s life was only worth $1000, that was the maximum penalty permitted. This ruling does not preclude the victim’s family from proceeding on a wrongful death claim, which is likely to be worth many thousands of dollars. Nothing can take away the tragedy of the loss of life in these types of cases.
Gold Lamborghini with parking tickets
No matter how rich you are, even if you have a gold fleet of supercars, you still have to obey the rules of the road. A Saudi millionaire who made news when he brought four Gold-Plated cars to London made the news again when they all got tickets where he had parked them on the street. Something tells me the guy who buys multiple cars that cost more than half a million dollars isn’t going to be worried about a couple hundred dollars in tickets.
Also, the cars don’t look that good.
A friend was recently in an accident which was not her fault, and in which she was injured, but thankfully not severely. They just received a letter from the at-fault party’s insurance company saying, sorry, your injuries aren’t covered. Which is perfectly legal in Florida… and perfectly ridiculous.
While Florida requires a minimum of insurance to cover one’s self, there is no requirement for other drivers that might negligently or recklessly injure you or your passengers to get insurance to cover your injuries. Jeff Garvin, another local personal injury attorney, did a great op-ed on it in the News-Press a few weeks ago. I literally had the article sitting on my desk when I heard about my friend’s situation. It is past time to do something about it, and I encourage Florida to join 48 of our 50 states and require personal injury protection. And I will specifically pass on Mr. Garvin’s call to action: 1. Get uninsured motorist coverage for yourself if you don’t have it, and 2. Contact your legislator and encourage them to change the law.
Mr. Garvin’s entire piece can be found here.
Find your representative here.
UPDATE: clarification in wording, as FL requires drivers to get minimum insurance for their own injuries, but not for injuries that you cause to other people.
Erroneous DL of Tammy Lemasters
Sexual Predator is about the worst thing you can be called under the law. The Florida DHSMV erroneously put a sexual predator designation on the license of Tammy LeMasters, from Orlando. The good news is, it is an easy fix (after she gets through the line at the DHSMV. The bad news is mostly embarrassment. She is planning a lawsuit, though it is hard to claim much actual damage. The notoriety of the lawsuit will far exceed any reputational harm she had for the few people who saw the erroneous license!
CNN did a decent story on an issue we have covered several times on Crimcourts. It’s worth checking out, be sure to check the video for the setup, in addition to the text story. The guys featured were legally carrying money for poker, and the cops grabbed it all. The Justice Department has been stepping back from participating in these civil asset forfeitures. There is a private company running seminars teaching cops how to do this… officers are literally planning to come up with ways to seize citizen property: that’s scary.
Thanks for sharing, Michael.
US Attorney General has announced that the Department of Justice will stop allowing local and state police from using Federal law to conduct seizures and forfeitures of property. More than $3 billion in property have been seized since 2008 in a program known as equitable sharing. According to the Washington Post: A Justice official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the attorney general’s motivation, said Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”
Agencies are still allowed to seek forfeitures under State laws. Florida has pretty broad forfeiture statutes. Florida authorities have and will continue to seize property, even after warrantless searches where no drugs or contraband are found. This just means the Federal Government decided to stop assisting and encouraging these and other local authorities.
From the Washington Post, via code3.jalopnik.com
Blogger Steve Lehto, who I have linked to in the past, is an attorney who write about car-related legal issues. He did a post this week about traffic tickets, and it’s pretty spot on, so I’m sharing it here. One caveat, many times we can get a ticket dismissed in some counties if the cop doesn’t show up- the policies about that are really localized. All the more reason to talk to an experienced attorney if you get a ticket!