The Trial Dog

Anthony Candela is the Trial Dog and a Board-Certified attorney. He opened the Candela Law Firm, P.A. in 2014 and handles criminal trials and appeals (as well as estate planning, wills, and trusts). He received his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 2000 and his B.A. in Political Science from King’s College in 1996. As an expert in criminal law and procedure, he has tried over a hundred cases to verdict. Since 2008, he has been certified and recertified by the Florida Bar in Criminal Trial three times. He has also argued several dozen appeals. In the federal system, he is admitted to the Middle District of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. #candelalawfirm #thetrialdog

What is Discovery? A Brief Explanation of How Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 Works

Inevitably, discovery disputes arise in these criminal cases. These types of errors are too numerous to list, but usually take the form of an updated report that is inadvertently not produced to the defense or a new witness is added or substituted into a witness list at the last minute or a witness offers new testimony at trial that was not part of their report or deposition testimony. When a discovery violation is alleged, it is the duty of the trial court to conduct a hearing to determine “whether the state’s violation was trivial or substantial, and most importantly, what effect, if any did the violation have on the ability of the defendant to prepare properly for trial.” The violation and hearing on the matter is a referred to as a Richardson hearing.

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).

Acquittal, By Design

By design, it is the jury’s solemn responsibility to doubt everything and make the government satisfy the constitution’s extreme requirements. In this regard, a trial should be an exceedingly difficult proposition for the government regardless of its evidence.

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.