Corpus Delicti: What Do I Need to Know?

Corpus delicti is a legal rule which refers to the proposition that the prosecution must prove all the elements of an offense (and, thus a crime) before the accused’s out-of-court statements can be introduced as evidence to demonstrate that the accused was the perpetrator. This principle is widely accepted in criminal prosecutions. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that crazy people are not convicted of crimes simply because they made some admission that they committed the crime without further proof.

Digital Estate Planning is for Everyone

Nowadays, estate planning must necessarily include a digital estate plan too. It is estimated that 60% of people will die without a will or any type of estate plan. Additionally, most people will end up taking their passwords and usernames to their grave. While this might be acceptable if the person was a spy and keeping state secrets safe, it is a nightmare scenario for the next of kin, partner, spouse, or personal representative trying to windup and close your estate so that they can take care of your heirs and beneficiaries. Keep in mind, once you are gone you cannot text them to tell them that the list is in a file on a “c” drive of your laptop or the list is written down a piece of paper in the junk drawer by the Keurig.

“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” not so Tasty

Although based in the language of the Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule remedy grew out of an understanding of fairness and purpose. If the government could prosecute someone with illegally obtained evidence, then what exactly was the purpose of the Fourth Amendment? And how was that fair? What did the Fourth Amendment protect if it could not be enforced on its face? Obviously, the government could not/should not get a windfall by circumventing the requirements of the Fourth Amendment…thus, the exclusionary rule remedy.

A Word About “Pocket Warrants”: Unicorns Are More Real

A “pocket warrant” is common street vernacular for a PCPR. The request is not a warrant at all. Usually, a “pocket warrant” or PCPR refers to an electronic notation in the LEO’s computer database that the authorities want to arrest a person and have reason to believe that that person has committed a felony offense. Unfortunately, the “pocket warrant” or PCPR is not a warrant and does not carry the force of law.

Justified or Excused? The Basics of “Affirmative Defenses” in Criminal Cases in Florida

An “affirmative defense” is a defense which admits the cause of action, but avoids liability, in whole or in part, by alleging an excuse, justification, or other matter negating or limiting liability. In layman’s terms, “I did it, but my act is justified or excused.” If the defense is accepted by the jury, then the verdict must be “not guilty” because the entire criminal act is excused or justified (and, therefore, legally negated). If the defense is not accepted, the accused has admitted to all the elements of the offense (and usually convicted him or herself).

You don’t say … or maybe you did. A brief explanation of witness impeachment by prior inconsistent statement.

The ability to impeach a witness is a trial skill that is perfected over time. It should not be undertaken lightly because a butchered impeachment of a key witness at trial can spectacularly backfire and unintentionally bolster the credibility of the witness. Although the principles of impeachment can be easily learned through studying caselaw, impeachment is better understood in practice and requires years to master. Watching an attorney perform a skillful impeachment is like watching a master craftsman carve a magnificent statute out of a single block of granite. It is akin to an artform. As with many trial skills, the more trial experience an attorney has, the better the attorney usually is at impeaching a witness. In this regard, there are no substitutes for trial experience and trial preparation.

Fair Trials Require Fair Dealings: a Brief Primer on Brady v. Maryland and Exculpatory Evidence

Each potential Brady violation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the extent of the violation and the potential remedy to rectify the violation. Depending on the severity of the Brady violation, the remedy could be dismissal of the case.

Five Simple Reasons You Need A Will

There are many people who operate under the misunderstanding that only the very wealthy or those with complicated assets and property need wills when they die. The truth is everyone needs one. A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and property, and outlines the careContinue reading “Five Simple Reasons You Need A Will”