Sheriff's Deputies Use Community Snitches to Arrest Jacksonville Man on Murder Charges

September 2, 2011

WOKV is reporting that a 20-year-old now faces murder charges in connection with a shooting that killed three and also left a baby suffering from injuries.

Sadly, many young people are sitting in jails throughout Florida and the United States, facing weapons charges and other violent felony charges. Many face up to life in prison or even the death penalty. And despite that, all have a right to a fair trial that includes representation by an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville and wherever they are.
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Sadly, improper and untruthful news media coverage can make getting a fair trial difficult or sometimes impossible. Look at the case of Casey Anthony, the Orlando woman accused of killing her daughter. Media from throughout the country commented on the case daily and had minute-by-minute updates during the trial. And because of these reports, many people believed she was guilty, even though the state couldn't prove the case against her.

Some Americans resorted to violence or protests, believing she is still guilty even though she was proven not guilty at trial. In violent crimes, primarily cases of homicide and other weapons charges in Jacksonville, the news media typically dedicates hours on television or radio or columns in the newspaper to outlining as much information as they can scrounge up, even if much of it is inaccurate or speculative.

Recently, a 20-year-old man was charged in connection with a shooting in Northwest Jacksonville that left three people dead and a baby wounded. Authorities say they leaned on community members for information that led to the arrest.

"It's because of the community coming forward, becoming involved and telling us what they knew that we know who's involved," one official told the news media at a press conference.

A 19-year-old, 26-year-old and 31-year-old were killed, while a 16-month-old remains hospitalized. Police say they are still searching for a second suspect and they believe drug territory was a motive.

The report doesn't make clear exactly what information they received from the public or how it was obtained. Threatening community members for information or offering monetary awards for information are unreliable because they give people motivation beyond just telling the truth.

These types of witnesses must be heavily scrutinized in cases where weapons were used or if someone is facing a murder charge. When shots go off, people usually aren't sticking around to see what happened. They rarely get a good look at the person shooting.

Yet, rumors quickly fly in tight-knit communities and people may not be 100 percent truthful in their statements to police. They may not be talking from first-hand knowledge, but only relaying information, good or not, from other sources. And if someone has a problem with someone in their neighborhood, they may be quick to place the blame on someone who is innocent. These types of witnesses must be viewed cautiously and their credibility questioned on behalf of the defendant.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associate, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Atlantic Beach Killer Still At Large, Police Still Investigating: August 16, 2011

21-Year-Old Jacksonville Man Sent to Prison for Life for Shooting: August 12, 2011