If you are reading this, you are probably in some type of trouble with the criminal justice system. I want you to know I can help. I am a graduate of Stetson University (1984) with a degree in Political Science and am a 1987 graduate of the University of Florida College of Law. While at U of F Law, I was a member of the prestigious University of Florida Law Review (1986 -1987). I have practiced law for 32 years, mostly in private practice. I am one of ten (10) attorneys in the State of Florida that are Florida Board Certified as an expert in both criminal trial and criminal appellate litigation. The Board Certification process is a rigorous one. It involves a long period of experience in actual trial and appellate litigation, testing, and recognition by trial judges, appellate judges and other attorneys attesting to my expertise. While there are many board certified trial attorneys and many board certified appellate attorneys, only a few, including myself, are considered experts in both. I believe this broader expertise is essential to rendering a high quality of assistance to clients. The reason for this is simple: you have to know how to properly try a criminal case in order to properly analyze appellate issues that come out of the trial.
Cases are tried on two levels: the trial level and the appellate level. The goal at trial is always to win. But if the actions of the prosecutor or the judge has made the trial unfair to you then you need to have a record preserved through proper objections in order to have a chance for a new trial. Appeals are not retrials. They are proceedings to determine whether the lower court trial was fair. All too often I've seen trial transcripts where the attorney didn't make important objections and when asked why they respond they didn't want to make the judge or the jury mad by objecting. So not only has the attorney lost at trial, he or she has made sure there is little or no chance of winning on appeal. Most errors at the trial court level are waived if they are not objected to. There are a select few instances where an objection doesn't have to be made, but in those cases it would still have been better if the objection was made. There is never a reason not to object.
The appellate courts often call the decision not to object "strategy" by the defense attorney. It's not a strategy. It's surrender. I'm not here to be the judge's friend or the prosecutor's friend. I work for you and only you. If objections need to be made I make them. If arguments need to be made I make them. The jurors who have talked to me over the years after a trial say they appreciate the way I fight for my clients. Some ask for my card "just in case they ever need me."
I have won countless trials over the years. I have won countless appeals as well, including the reversal of a guilty verdict in a death penalty case based on improper conduct by the prosecutor who used racial stereotypes to eliminate a Hispanic juror. Most famously I represented a man wrongfully convicted of federal drug charges and other miscellaneous offenses. After a jury verdict of guilty, but prior to sentencing, I uncovered evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. It started with one sentence in a 40+ page pre-sentence report, a report most defense attorneys sadly don't read thoroughly. The government had withheld a mountain of favorable evidence from us. Although it took several years of fighting, I was able to get the sentence set aside and my client released from jail after spending 1003 days in confinement. After even more years of litigation I was able to get him declared "actually innocent" of the charges the Federal Government brought against him and compensated for the time and freedom he lost because of the government's misconduct. You can read more about this case in an article published in USA Today.* I believe it is a testament to my thoroughness and tenaciousness. I win cases other people do not because, quite simply, I work harder work smarter than other lawyers. I know what to look for in any type of case
Going through the criminal justice system can be terrifying. You only get one chance to properly defend yourself. You need to pick the right lawyer now! You rarely get a "do over." I'm available for a free consultation 365 days a year. Call me at (850) 597-8015.