Street Justice Scenario Ended With No Charges, Indicates Lakeland Criminal Defense Attorney
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 14 , 2013 - Street justice rarely has a good ending. This case is no exception.
“In this reported case, two people chased a 17-year-old boy, whom they mistook for a burglar, down an alley in Palm Beach. The young man was allegedly threatened with a metal baseball bat, nearly run over with a vehicle, and was told his wallet and keys would be confiscated,” explained Thomas Grajek, a Lakeland criminal defense attorney.
As things turned out, the 17-year-old was innocent, but the two chasing and threatening him did not know that at the time. They were handed felony charges, but ultimately did not face prosecution for several reasons, one of which related to the right, in Florida, to employ non-deadly force to defend property. The couple were operating under that right, even though they had the wrong person in their sights and they did what they did under the good-faith impression that the boy had committed a crime. “No one seems to be able to answer the question of what would have happened if the innocent boy had been seriously harmed or killed,” Grajek added.
This case raises several issues: how far can property crime victims go by taking justice into their own hands and how is the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' upheld in situations like this? While the police say it is never a good idea to participate in vigilante justice, the law that says people may defend their property seems to be at odds with what may happen in reality.
The idea of a citizen’s arrest is alive and well in all parts of the nation, but it is an action that can spell disaster for the person attempting to make such an arrest. They may well end up being charged with false imprisonment, battery or something else. It should also go without saying that a citizen attempting to determine someone’s guilt is not a good idea either.
“Many crimes scenes are not what they appear to be and the innocence or guilt of a suspect may not be resolved until all the evidence in is and analyzed. The young boy in the Palm Beach incident nearly got beaten for no reason, other than someone thought he was guilty,” said Grajek. State laws dealing with the defense of property are often open to various interpretations, which means prosecutors may treat each case differently, even within the same state. Obvious cases of self-defense are one thing. Other cases, which may fall into a grey area, are another.
Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
View Larger Map
- Florida sex crime attorney Thomas Grajek on the "sex on the beach" case sentencing
Today the infamous couple convicted of having “Sex on the Beach” are scheduled to be sentenced today. I have previously posted about this case explaining how serious this charge can be at: http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/05/florida-couple-found-guilty-of-sex-on-the-beach-and-now-will-be-classified-as-sexual-offenders-and-face-prison-time/ Bay News 9 is reporting that the prosecutor is only seeking 2 1/2 years in prison for the male involved in the case. If the judge agrees to mitigate Jose Caballero’s sentence to that prison sentence, it will be a hug break for him as he is facing a mandatory 15 years in prison. The State can agree to mitigate the sentence which is one of the few […]
- Do I need a lawyer for my criminal case? Can a criminal attorney do anything for me?
If you have been arrested, I offer a free office consultation. There are many things an arrested person needs to know before they go to court including that you may have a defense to the crime you did not even know about! Unfortunately, I get many calls months AFTER the individual pled out and now it’s too late to help them. Today, someone called asking me how much I charge to expunge a record. However, that person went to court with a Public Defender who did not handle the case correctly and the person was Adjudicated Guilty. The Public Defender […]
- Right to be Free From Unreasonable Seizures Is Protected by U.S. Supreme Court
The story behind the lawsuit that eventually went before the U.S. Supreme Court began when police pulled a driver over for apparently driving erratically. When asked about his driving, the man said he had hit a pothole, and it jerked the vehicle over, so he had been righting the trajectory of the car. The officer asked the driver for his documentation — driver’s license, insurance, registration — and then asked the driver to come back to the cruiser with him. The driver declined. The officer questioned the passenger, called for backup, finished issuing tickets and asked the driver if he […]