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January 2013 Archives

Tampa-area woman to be retried on 700-year-old law

Federal prosecutors in Tampa are trying again to convict a 24-year-old woman on an unusual charge that has its roots in medieval law. The woman is accused of "misprision of a felony" -- basically, failing to report a felony to authorities. The case is indirectly related to criminal charges against the woman's boyfriend, who is accused of fatally shooting two police officers during a traffic stop in 2010. The woman was tried in July but the case ended in a mistrial.

Theft, murder charges for shoplifter after heart attack

Readers in Florida may not realize that any death that occurs during the commission of a felony could result in murder charges for the person accused of committing the felony. This is true even when the underlying felony is not a violent crime. For example, a person accused of grand theft recently pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in connection with the death of a security guard at the store where the theft allegedly occurred.

Consent is exception to search warrant requirement in Tampa

As readers in Tampa probably know, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of people's bodies, homes and property. This clause is important because it takes away law enforcement's ability to conduct random searches of homes on the hunt for incriminating evidence. Instead, police officers generally must obtain a search warrant from the court before they can search a residence. With the government having the power to arrest and imprison us, the search warrant requirement is one of several Constitutional and other legal requirements that help maintain a check on that power.

Prosecutors respond to rejected plea deal with new charges

Back on Oct. 11, we discussed the child pornography charges filed against a Tampa-area man over content allegedly found on his computer. The man was charged in July with possession of child pornography, though the grand jury decided not to charge him with conspiracy to kidnap based on an instant message conversation found on the computer.

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