Search & Seizure Archives - The Law Offices of Travis Koon, PLLC

Entrapment

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Every so often a case comes to one of our offices that just does not seem right, the facts don’t add up. We have seen instances of arrest being made, and our correct defense is entrapment. This defense is based on the universally accepted fact that it is unjust for law enforcement to encourage an individual to perform a criminal activity for the basis of arresting that individual.

Florida statute 777.201 defines entrapment as:

(1) A law enforcement officer, … induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.

Basically, this says that law enforcement is not allowed to encourage or induce an individual into committing a crime.

Once the defense of entrapment has been shown, it is up to the prosecutors to prove entrapment did not occur. The prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was predisposed to commit the particular crime.

There are several questions that need to be answered to determine if entrapment tactics were utilized:

• Was the individual ready to commit the crime they are being charged with?
• Was it a law enforcement officer or agent that inducted the individual to commit the crime?
• Did the individual engage in criminal conduct as a direct result of law enforcement engagement?
• Was the individual encouraged by law enforcement to engage in criminal conduct in order to obtain evidence?
• Did law enforcement provide the individual with the opportunity or means to facilitate the crime?

In Jacobson v. United States (1991) The Supreme Court of the United States found that Jacobson was induced into the crime due to entrapment. In 1985 government agencies became interested in Jacobson’s interest in child pornography and over the next 2 ½ years sent him mailings for fictitious organizations and one non-existent pen pal, all promoting sexual liberation and challenging censorship. Once Jacobson begin to show interest, they began to offer child pornography material, which he eventually purchased – for which he was arrested.

The prosecution was unable to prove that Jacobson would have committed this crime without their direct involvement, and Jacobson’s charges were reversed due to entrapment.

It is illegal for law enforcement or their agents (undercover, informants…) to induce or engage an individual to commit a crime for the sole purpose of arresting them; they cannot create criminals.

At The Law Office of Travis Koon, we understand that there are times when an individual is persuaded to do something they wouldn’t normally do, and we are here to protect those people. As Florida criminal defense attorneys, we will make sure your rights are not infringed upon. Call any one of our offices today (Miami, Lake City, and Gainesville) today to set up a meeting with one of our dedicated attorneys.

Do you have the right to bear arms in Florida?

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DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS OR OWN A GUN IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA?  DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS AND NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been shortened to be understood as ‘the right to bear arms’.  That is misleading.  As an individual, you do not have the right to legally carry a firearm without some restrictions.  The 2nd Amendment reads:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The meaning of this one sentence has been the topic of many discussions in and out of court.

In 1939 the Supreme Court heard the case United States v. Miller, in which Jack Miller and another person were arrested and indicted for transporting unregistered sawed-off shotguns across state lines.  Miller had several arguments to back his case, one of which was that the National Firearms Act, which regulated the interstate transport of certain firearms, violated the second amendment.  Miller won with the lower district courts, but the case was taken to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled against Miller and upheld that the fact that the second amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear such firearms.   Part of the statement was “…in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession of use of [sawed-off] shotgun… has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument” 307 U.S. at 178[1].  Thus, the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias.

 

The Supreme Court did not hear a ruling concerning the Second Amendment again until 2007 with the Parker v. District of Columbia case.  Previously, the District of Columbia had laws concerning a ban on carrying a pistol without a license, new registration of handguns, and firearms being kept unloaded an locked.  In the Parker case, the lower D.C. courts ruled against these laws and found that a person has the right to own handguns for their own personal protection and keep them in their homes without placing a trigger lock on them.

The case was appealed by Heller to the Supreme Court (D.C. v. Heller) and the Court agreed with the lower court that the D.C. banning of handguns and requiring firearms in the home to be disassembled or locked did violate the Second Amendment.  The Court stated that although the amendment stated “a well regulated Militia…” that this does not limit the action, or use of, firearms.

 

However, the Court did acknowledge that the right to bear arms is subject to regulations.  Regulations such as licenses, matters concerning concealed weapons, limiting the rights of felons or mentally ill individuals,  and prohibiting of carrying weapons in certain places.

The issues and arguments of the Second Amendment still arise today, and the interpretation of this amendment is constantly being scrutinized.  If you are arrested and charged with any crime regarding carrying or being in possession of a handgun, call an attorney immediately.  In Florida the criminal defense office of The Law Office of Travis Koon has handled cases regarding the issue of handguns, and may be able to handle your case.  Call any one of our offices today (in Gainesville, Lake City, or Miami) to schedule an appointment.  Do not wait until it is too late!  We are Florida criminal defense attorneys that are here to protect your rights.

 

[1] http://www.loc.gov/law/help/second-amendment.php

 

EXPERIENCED GAINESVILLE AND LAKE CITY, FLORIDA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

 

At www.koonlegal.com and Attorney Travis Koon, we know that if found guilty, some of these charges can change your life completely.

 

At www.koonlegal.com , Criminal Defense Attorney Travis Koon, is a trained and skilled attorney that will assess your situation and argue the best defense for your case. Attorney Travis Koon has represented people charged with crimes his entire career. Criminal Defense Attorney Travis Koon has helped over 1,500 clients avoid jail time and the loss of their freedom. Attorney Travis Koon has conducted over 40 criminal trials and many of those trials were in the immediately area surrounding Live Oak, Florida, Lake City, Florida and Gainesville, Florida. Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Florida Bar and Georgia Bar. In addition, Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Federal Middle District and Northern District. Attorney Travis Koon is experienced in criminal cases in State and Federal Court.

 

Koonlegal

Travis Koon, Attorney

Criminal Attorney

Live Oak, Lake City & Gainesville, Florida

Live Oak and Lake City-386-597-0000

Gainesville-352-729-1211

traviskoon@koonlegal.com

www.koonlegal.com

 

DUI

Arrested? 4th Amendment Illegal Search and Seizure

Posted by | Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, DUI | No Comments

The 4th Amendment-Illegal Search & Seizures

On September 25, 1789 the First Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. On December 15, 1791 10 amendments were ratified and constitute the first 10 amendments, or the Bill of Rights.
The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution protects against unwarranted searches and seizures. It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmations, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This amendment protects against arbitrary arrest, and is the basis of laws regarding search warrants, being stopped and frisked, and even wires taps and other forms of surveillance; as well as other privacy laws. It was originally thought of as the notion that ‘each man’s home is his castle’ and protected him and his information while in the home, but today it is also expanded upon to protect a person’s privacy even while in public.
There are arguments for and against the idea that the US Constitution is a ‘living and breathing’ document. The proponents for this idea believe that the US Constitution needs to be interpreted in the modern societal text, while the opponents believe that it is a distinct set of rights that is the cornerstone of our society and shouldn’t continually be changed.
According to West’s Florida Practice Series TM, in order for a search to fall within the coverage of the Fourth Amendment, “a governmental search must either intrude upon an individual’s ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ or amount to trespass upon an individual’s person, house, papers, or effects in an attempt to find something or obtain information’.
It is the reasonable expectation of privacy that the Court handed down a landmark decision in Katz v. United States in 1967 that the Fourth Amendments protects people, not places. Katz was accused of placing bets and receiving wagering information by telephone, he used a public telephone booth to make interstate wages. FBI agents placed a wiretap outside of the telephone booth and could hear his side of the conversations. Katz argued that this violated his rights because he had the reasonable expectation of privacy, even while in public. It is a value judgment ‘as to the extent to which a free and open society will permit governmental intrusion upon personal privacy in order to facilitate other societal objectives such as effective enforcement of criminal laws’.

Justice Stewart’s assessment was that the Fourth Amendment “protects people, not places” shows the fine line that is walked by law enforcement daily.
Moving forward to 2014, but still using the same example of obtaining information from telephones, Riley, in Riley v. California, was stopped on a traffic violation. While searching him incident to the arrest, the police officer seized a cell phone from his pants pocket and eventually accessed photos and videos that seemed to be in connection with a shooting that occurred weeks earlier. Riley’s motion to suppress was denied. This was eventually reversed when it was decided that police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.
With ever-changing technology, the laws are constantly being revised to take this into account. No one should have to attempt to maneuver the court systems alone. Hiring a top criminal defense attorney such as The Law Offices of Travis Koon is in the best interest of the charged individual. We will fight for the rights of our clients.