Court watchers have a couple of choices as 2018 gets underway. Two major murder trials have started in Lee and Collier Counties, and that’s after the former Naples Officer was acquitted at trial last week.
In Fort Myers, the trial of Placido Moreno-Torres started yesterday: he’s on trial for murder for a 2016 incident in Lehigh Acres where he shot his wife and the neighbor who tried to intervene in their domestic dispute. It will be an interesting case, as he is likely to claim self-defense, because the neighbor came onto his property trying to break up the altercation, and only then did he retrieve the firearm. He will claim self-defense (and previously filed a stand your ground motion that was denied), but he has an uphill battle if he brought a gun to a fistfight. He is also charged with attempted murder, because after he shot the neighbor and his own wife, he held the gun to his neighbor’s sister’s head and tried to shoot her, only to have the gun misfire. There’s no self-defense argument there. He faces life in prison with a 25-year minimum under 10-20-Life. NBC-2’s Jaclyn Bevis is in the courtroom with live coverage on Twitter.
In Collier County, jury selection is underway for Lisa Troemner who is charged with killing her live-in boyfriend at their Marco Island apartment in 2014. They had apparently been arguing for a while, when it became physical, and she stabbed him. She tried to resuscitate him unsuccessfully, then went to a nearby convenience store to summon help. Again, self-defense is likely to be argued here. Also, a review of the court file indicates the Defense has sought the assistance of a false-confessions expert to challenge her statement, a blood spatter expert, presumably to challenge the findings at the crime scene. The case has been going on for more than three years, including an appeal of some matter while it was pending. She has been in custody the whole time, and is facing life in prison. There are some 150 witnesses listed, and the trial will take weeks, maybe five or more. Patrick Riley from the Naples Daily News is on this one, and has been tweeting from the courtroom as well.
Posted in 10-20-Life, Criminal Law, Florida, Fort Myers / Lee County / Southwest Florida #SWFL, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida, Stand Your Ground
Tagged collier, donald day, jaclyn bevis, lehigh acres, lisa troemner, murder, naples, patrick riley, placido moreno-torres, self defense, stand your ground, swfl, trial
Ricardo Vazquez Jr. speaks with his attorney, James Chandler, via WINK News
Ricardo Vazquez Jr. was acquitted by a jury today in Collier County of 4 counts of sexual molestation of two minors. Vazquez had worked at a Naples police officer several years ago. One of the counts could have earned him a life sentence, due to the accuser’s age. However, there was no physical evidence to back up the allegations, only the testimony of the accusers, and there were some inconsistencies in their statements. Vazquez was convicted of 2 lesser counts of misdemeanor battery, and sentenced to time served on those, since he had been in custody since his arrest in 2016. He will be released today, and is not a felon or a sex-offender. Vazquez had denied the charges all along, took the stand in his own defense, and it was demonstrated that the accusers did not like him. The trial started on Monday, closing arguments were yesterday, and they jury took the night off, and came back today to finish their deliberations.
Vazquez was represented by Naples attorneys James Chandler and Elizabeth Humann, who did an excellent job with a tough case. I spoke to Chandler, who said, “It was a great day for the Vazquez family and I am happy that their son and brother is returning home to them. It was a hard fought and emotional trial. Now it is time for Rick to try to return to life. I am extremely proud of our team.” It was a huge win on another big case for Chandler and his firm.
Posted in Criminal Law, Florida, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida, Police
Tagged battery, collier, james chandler, lewd, naples, npd, ricardo vazquez, sexcrime
A Collier man caught a possible burglar trying to break into his car earlier this week. He confronted he man, who ran away, and tried to escape into a canal. Officers later found his body in the canal: presumably drowning is the cause of death, but the investigation continues.
21-year-old Naples resident Miranda Johns has been arrested for 3 counts of illegal sexual contact with animals. Apparently, she recorded herself having sex with two dogs, and sent the videos to her boyfriend. He reported he when the cops were called out to a domestic disturbance. CCSO reports they have recovered multiple videos. Johns bonded out, her arraignment is set for April 13.
No more details have been released at this time, and while I’m morbidly curious… I really don’t want to know!
UPDATE: follow up with more details here
Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Russell has been arrested for a DUI. He was involved in a crash while in his patrol vehicle, and taken to the hospital. Interestingly, while the arresting officer found signs of impairment, apparently there were no indicators of alcohol abuse. That would suggest, by process of elimination, that they may believe he was impaired by a controlled substance. (Note, many prescription drugs qualify as controlled substances.)
NBC-2 took a look at the actual cost to taxpayers of the prosecution of marijuana offenses. As a sample, they found that on one day there were 29 offenders in the Collier County jail for misdemeanor marijuana offenses. At a cost of more than $100 per day to house them, that totaled over $3,000.00 in incarceration fees- just for one day! Lee county, with a larger population, likely has even more marijuana offenders.
The costs calculated by NBC does not include the other costs: costs for the prosecutor’s office, court administration fees, and legal defense costs (because it’s a criminal offense, all defendants are entitled to have an attorney, and the state pays if they cannot afford it.) Some of these costs are offset by imposing financial assessments to the defendants… but the guys (and gals) in jail won’t be paying them.
Further, and one of the main complaints of those who are challenging are the collateral consequences: people are burdened with the stigma of arrest, they are followed around by their convictions and mug shots, and in Florida, a conviction also leads to a mandatory driver’s license suspension! That makes it even harder for people to put their mistakes behind them and to be productive members of society: if they can’t drive, a lot of people lose their jobs, for instance. That’s why it’s imperative to get an experienced criminal law attorney to represent you if you get arrested- even if it’s ‘just a little weed’.
- Noe Dejesus was arrested for DUI in Collier County after being clocked at 109 coming across Alligator Alley
- Dejesus was butt naked when cops pulled him out of the car
Law enforcement received several calls of a car driving recklessly, and soon thereafter, troopers spotted Mr. Dejesus’ Cadillac going about 110 on I-75 Alligator Alley. Troopers pulled him over, and observed alcoholic beverage containers in the car. When they asked him to step out, they found out that he was completely naked.
Also inside the car were three women, several beer bottles, and a nearly empty bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey. They asked Dejesus to complete field sobriety exercises, but he declined to do so, and was arrested for DUI and driving without a license, both misdemeanors. Judging by his mug shot… he might have decided it was worth it.
It is unknown where he was coming from, but he was heading in the direction of his home in Lehigh Acres, and from the direction if he had been in Miami. No information was given about his lady friends.
Posted in Criminal Law, DUI, Florida, Miami / South Florida, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida, Uncategorized
Tagged alligator alley, collier, crown royal, dui, lehigh acres, miami, mug shot, speeding