Changes to Marijuana Prosecutions in Hillsborough County

From the Tampa Legal Team: News you can use. Memo has gone out from Andrew H. Warren, State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit regarding changes to marijuana prosecutions in Hillsborough County, as follows:

“Effective immediately, our office will not file charges nor prosecute any cannabis case with an offense date on or after July 1, 2019 without a scientifically reliable, admissible test that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance contains a THC level above the 0.3% threshold that distinguishes illegal cannabis from legal hemp. Among cannabis-related offenses, our office will continue to prioritize felonies: trafficking, manufacturing, delivery, sale, possession with intent, and felony-amount possession cases, while continuing to deprioritize the prosecution of misdemeanor cannabis cases in favor of established diversion and civil citation programs. Also, we will continue to prioritize the prosecution of cannabis-related felonies in which other felonies are part of the same transaction or occurrence, such as [a] felon in possession of a firearm or offenses involving other controlled substances.”

State Attorney Andrew H. WArren, 13th Judicial Circuit, Florida.

Joe’s Commentary on Changes to Marijuana Prosecutions:

This memo is too important to make light of or over emphasize. It’s just one defense lawyer’s opinion, but I think Mr. Warren has struck a blow for fairness and equality and ought to be applauded for the depth and quality thought that is behind the broad philosophy expressed therein. I for one think it will make a real difference in our community.

Plain Smell problems

Lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers have been wrestling with the fine points of the “plain view” exception to the warrant requirement since around 1980, but as sometimes happens, the doctrine has grown to include “plain feel” cases and most notably for the hemp v. marijuana discussion, “plain smell” cases.

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Domestic Violence Allegations

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There may be a world where human beings are able to control their emotions when in stressful situations in the home with loved ones, but we have learned it is not Planet Earth. There is a long history of domestic violence in the United States that continues to the present day. When domestic violence allegations arise in relationships, the ripple effects can be far reaching.

Relationships are difficult, everybody knows that. There are always going to be arguments and differences of opinion, even if they are merely about whose turn it is to take out the garbage. We have seen that domestic violence can be very real, when people are injured or killed. We have also seen that domestic violence allegations can be fraudulent, where a charge of domestic violence is used as a ruse to gain advantage in a divorce or custody dispute.

Just by filing a domestic violence injunction in civil court, one person may get his or her partner thrown out of a joint residence and prohibited from coming back, even to visit children. That same person may be awarded temporary child support and alimony without a full hearing. Often hearings are set and held within 10 days or two weeks of the injunction being filed, which gives the accused violent offender little time to find a place to live or hire a lawyer to fight the domestic violence allegations.

It is common for the initial accuser to “take back” the domestic violence allegations, to change his or her mind and decide he or she does not wish for the legal action to move forward. When a civil injunction is involved, the person asking for the injunction may dismiss the case at any time, and even after it is put in place the accuser may still be able to ask that it be modified.

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