November 2011 Archives

Teen crashes while fleeing police in Jacksonville, now facing vehicular homicide charge

November 30, 2011

A 16-year-old boy trying to run from police finds himself in much deeper trouble now after he ran a red light and killed a 22-year-old driver. The teen, Zachary Lambert, is now charged with vehicular homicide, according to the Florida Times-Union. Vehicular homicide is a second degree felony in Florida and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison if the state attorney treats Zachary as an adult. Lambert is also charged with driving without a license causing death or serious bodily injury, a third degree felony and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer after causing death, which is a first degree felony, the newspaper reported. The Florida Highway Patrol, which is investigating the case, told the newspaper it is still looking into how Lambert got the pick-up truck he was driving and how fast he was going.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Zachary was headed eastbound on Beach Boulevard while being pursued by a marked Jacksonville Sheriff's Office patrol unit with lights and sirens. They report that the boy failed to stop at the traffic signal at Beach Boulevard and San Pablo. The victim was northbound on San Pablo and entered the intersection on a green light and was hit on her side door by Zachary's vehicle. According to a witness at the scene, the traffic signal was red for Zachary. The victim was killed by the impact. Police estimate that Zachary was going around 100 miles per hour in the car.

Prosecutors now have a decision to make as to whether to charge Lambert as an adult or let the case play out in juvenile court. The state weighs a slew of factors in making that decision - and sometimes will charge a teen as an adult as a negotiating chip to coax a plea deal out of the youngster. Often, a teen's criminal record plays a role. In this case, Lambert's doesn't help him. The newspaper reports Lambert was charged with aggravated assault in Duval County in September after pulling a knife on his sister and threatening to kill her.

Having an experienced Jacksonville Juvenile Attorney involved before the state makes its charging decision can help. Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm can start negotiating early to get the best result for your child or loved one. Even if the state goes ahead with the case as if the teen is an adult, the judge can decide to give the child a "youthful offender" sentence in Florida, which is usually a combination of incarceration and probation for a maximum of six years.

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.

St. Augustine captain key to reopening case of late Hollywood starlet Natalie Wood

November 27, 2011

Hollywood and the celebrity news organizations were abuzz last week when police reopened the death investigation 30 years after actress Natalie Wood was said to have drowned. And a St. Augustine boat captain is at the center of the case. Dennis Davern, who now lives in St. Augustine, was captain of the boat owned by Wood and her husband, film and television actor Robert Wagner, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. Thirty years after Wood disappeared, Davern has co-authored a book that pins the actress' mysterious death on Wagner.

Not surprisingly, it's Davern that now finds himself on trial in the court of public opinion as media and others try to figure out if Davern's story is legit. And, if it is, why did he not tell police at the time? Davern was grilled on the Today show and by polarizing pit bull Nancy Grace. Wagner has not been charged with any crime to date. Wood, Wagner and actor Christopher Walken had gone out on the boat over Thanksgiving weekend in 1981. Davern writes the three had been drinking much of the day, when an argument boiled over. In his book, Davern wrote that Wagner became so angry that he smashed a bottle of wine on the table in the yacht's main salon, causing everybody to shield themselves from the broken glass. Walken became upset and retreated to his stateroom, while Wagner chased Wood into the master stateroom to continue the argument, Davern said.

Shortly after that, Wagner told him that Wood was missing, Davern said. Davern admits that he did not initially tell police the truth. That makes Davern's credibility dicey at best, and could present problems for the state. The credibility of a witness is crucial to prosecutors and our St. Augustine criminal defense firm will thoroughly examine all aspects of the case and find out if there might be a reason a witness might say something other than what really happened. The longer a case drags out and the more dishonesty the witness has in his or her background, the more that could raise doubt in the minds of a jury. If a criminal case goes to trial in Florida, the background of a witness is pretty much unknown to a jury. The only background information a jury gets to hear on any witness is whether or not the witness is a convicted felon and how many felonies the witness has been convicted of. Also, the jury can hear if the witness has been convicted of a "crime of dishonesty". Some examples of crimes of dishonesty in Florida are theft crimes (grand theft, petty theft, dealing in stolen property) or worthless check crimes.

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.

Records clerk for Jacksonville Sheriff's Office pleads guilty to leaking confidential information

November 25, 2011

A former Jacksonville Sheriff's Office records clerk has pleaded guilty to leaking confidential information, including pictures of undercover officers. Kenitra Casper was arrested in June and pleaded guilty last week to 12 counts of disclosing or using confidential law enforcement information, according to the Florida Times-Union. The technical title of these crimes is "Disclosure or use of confidential criminal justice information" and each count is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Casper is facing up to 60 years in prison, but the newspaper story said it is possible Casper will only receive Jacksonville probation. In order to convict someone of this Florida crime, the prosecution must prove that you were a public servant and while working for the city, you did with intent to obstruct, impede, or prevent a criminal investigation or a criminal prosecution, disclose active criminal investigation information that is not available to the public. Casper was leaking pictures of undercover narcotics detectives, confidential photos of juveniles, suspect names and other records that were not supposed to be public. She used her JSO password to cull the information from a police database, the newspaper reported. Police told the newspaper the five detectives were reassigned and have not been injured.

Casper has entered pleas of "guilty" to all the charges against her. It is now up to the judge in the case to decide what sentence she should receive. When a criminal defendant enters a plea to the judge, it is always risky. The judge in Casper's case can sentence her to "time served", place her on probation in Duval County, sentence her to jail time or even send her to prison. A "Pre-Sentence Investigaion Report" (PSI) was ordered in Casper's case. This is a report that is completed by the Florida Department of Corrections. An officer from the Department talks to the defendant and family members to discover what kind of person the defendant is. The Department also runs a background investigation. The purpose of the PSI is to present the judge with enough information to make an informed decision about the defendant he or she is about to sentence.

Cases such as this are a nightmare for the sheriff's office, showing that the criminal element has someone on the inside feeding them information. One rouge employee can severely damage the credibility of the office, and raises the question of what else may not be above board inside the department. From a defense perspective, it warrants a look at all of the cases involving the detectives whose identities were leaked and involving the suspects whose names were put out there by Casper. There may be something there, there may not be.

Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys take a complete look at all of the moving parts that go into an arrest and the state's criminal case. In some instances, that means looking at the background of the officers making the arrest and any ongoing issues in the police department that may taint the case. Often times, individual police officers have been the subject of complaints, even discipline.

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.

Florida Highway Patrol doesn't issue tickets in crashes with two government vehicles

November 23, 2011

The Florida Highway Patrol apparently has one set of rules when government vehicles are involved in crashes and another for all other incidents, according to a First Coast News report. Last week, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective was in an unmarked car when he slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol car. The JSO officer was listed at fault, according to the television news report, but the driver was not ticketed for careless driving or any other traffic infraction in Jacksonville. Instead of getting a ticket, an FHP spokesman told the television station the agency's policy is to stay out of any discipline and let the driver's government agency handle it. That changes if there's an injury or private property damage, but if the only damage is to a government vehicle, no tickets are issued.

Trust our Jacksonville traffic violation attorneys, if you're not a police officer and you smash into a highway patrol officer, you'll have a ticket to answer to. You are not only facing a ticket, but could also be under suspicion for DUI or Driving Under the Influence in Jacksonville. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney has represented many clients who have been arrested for driving under the influence in Duval County following a traffic crash. Once a traffic accident occurs, the first thing the officer at the scene looks for are signs of impairment. Signs of impairment could be red/bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, smelling like alcohol, inability to stand straight, and smelling like alcohol. If the police officer observes any of these signs, he or she will almost assuredly ask you to perform field sobriety exercises. These "tests" designed to give the officer ammunition against you in a Florida criminal DUI case. The exercises are the "walk and turn", "finger to nose", "one leg stand", and reciting the alphabet. If the officer says you failed, you will be headed to jail. Once at the Duval County jail, also called the Pretrial Detention Facility, you will be asked to blow into the breathilizer. It is your choice, but know that if you do not blow, your license will be suspended for twelve months. Even if your Jacksonville DUI case is dropped, your license will still be suspended. That is why it is so important to discuss your Jacksonville criminal traffic case with an experienced Jacksonville criminal attorney.

Traffic offenses and penalties can add up quickly. They can send insurance rates climbing and even result in your license being suspended. Most people choose to just pay the ticket and move on. But, by doing that, you are admitting guilt and accepting the fine and points that come with the offense. Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm has defended hundreds of people on traffic offenses and can look at the ticket to determine if there's a chance the penalties can be reduced. If you're not a law enforcement officer who won't be written a ticket even if you crash into a patrol car, our attorneys might be able to help.

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. A Jacksonville Criminal Attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Questions remain as to who fired shots in Jacksonville robbery gone bad

November 21, 2011

One would-be armed robber is dead and his accomplice is in jail following a shootout in a Northwest Jacksonville seafood shop last week. Police told the Florida Times-Union the owner started firing after two masked men came in, pointed their guns and demanded money just after 6:30 p.m. last Friday. A store manager, however, told police it was the employee the suspects confronted that shot at them. Neither the manager nor police have said who fired first, the suspects or the people who work at the store.
Regardless of who fired first, Florida law now protects people who feel their life is in danger. The so-called "stand your ground" law allows for victims to use deadly force if they are simply trying to protect themselves.

In this case, employees say two men tried to rob the store at gunpoint. A manager told the newspaper the employee who fired started carrying the gun after a robbery just a month ago.

In similar cases, the State Attorney's office will close the case and consider it a "justified homicide." It is still homicide, simply because someone died, but prosecutors choose not to file charges because they feel the person was "justified" in his or her actions, according to what the law allows. Juries, and prosecutors, both understand that it isn't reasonable to expect someone to just stand back when someone puts a gun in his or her face. But it also doesn't mean you can retaliate with a shotgun if you're neighbor puts his finger in your chest about your dog pooping in his lawn.

Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm is well-versed in the "stand your ground" law and other aspects of self-defense. This law applies when you are anywhere you have a right to be, such as an open restaurant or just walking down the street. If someone threatens you or another person and you believe that you or the other person is in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death, you can meet that force with force.

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

Police investigating 19-minute 911 call as citizen follows Jacksonville DUI suspect

November 19, 2011

Jacksonville police had some extra help hunting a suspected intoxicated driver last month, and an internal investigation has been launched to see if the dispatcher did too much to help the citizen investigator. A motorist called 911 to report a driver "all over the road," according to the Florida Times-Union. The dispatcher is supposed to take the information, tell the driver to keep a safe distance and let the police do their job, the newspaper reported. But this dispatcher stayed on the line with the caller, who appears to have even run a red light to tail the alleged Duval County DUI driver. The caller even jokes about crashing into the car to stop it, the way police sometimes do to end a chase, and the dispatcher just remains silent, according to the newspaper report.

The driver has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence in Jacksonville and failure to obey traffic signals. The internal investigation into the 911 call is due back in 45 to 90 days. All 911 calls are recorded and this 19-minute conversation will likely be a major factor in this DUI case. Every detail matters in an arrest and that internal report could be crucial to her case.

Was the citizen investigator tailing her closely and influencing her driving? If so, that could have been avoided if the 911 dispatcher had followed policy and told the man to back off. There is a very specific protocol that must be followed in all Jacksonville DUI arrests and, many times, the case hinges on whether those procedures were followed correctly. When a citizen calls the police to report a bad driver, the first officer on the scene must verify what the caller is reporting. The police officer has to observe, independent of the citizen informant, the car's movements. The officer must also verify that the car he or she tails is the car in question. In most Jacksonville DUI cases, the whole case starts with the police pulling a suspect over. The officer has to have probable cause to believe that the suspect is impaired or committing some Florida traffic infraction.

Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney knows how to look for potential problems with the arrest. We can help assess the strength of the case against you or your loved one and advise you of the best options going forward.

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.

On third try, jury convicts man in 2007 shootout with police in Jacksonville

November 16, 2011

Some cases stick in the state's craw enough that, despite an overturned conviction and a mistrial, prosecutors push on through a third trial to get their guy. Just ask Jacquan Shootes. Shootes was convicted last week on two counts of aggravated assault in Jacksonville for a 2007 shootout with police, according to the Florida Times-Union. Shootes has maintained since the start he thought he was being robbed and pulled a gun to protect himself, not knowing the man in military-style uniforms were police. Shootes was walking from his cousin's Northwest Jacksonville home when two cars abruptly blocked his path and drew their weapons. Shootes fired, but never hit the officers.

Shootes was shot 18 times and now walks with a cane, the newspaper reported.
The state initially charged Shootes with attempted first-degree murder. A jury found him guilty of the lesser charges of aggravated assault and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. But Shootes appealed and the higher court found the state tainted the jury by flooding the courtroom with uniformed officers, who filled the first two benches right in front of the jury box. The state tried again in 2010 and, once a jury could not reach a verdict, the judge declared a mistrial. This is called a "hung jury". When a jury cannot agree on a verdict in Florida, the judge in the trial reads an instruction called "Jury Deadlock". The judge tells the jury that they have to go back to the jury room and take turns telling each other their view until each juror has a chance to talk. They are instructed not to interrupt each other or comment on the other's views until each of them has had the chance to talk. After everyone is done, if they cannot reach a verdict, they must inform the judge and the judge will declare the case mistried.

This week, a jury convicted Shootes. Any time that police are shot at, count on the state pressing forward at all costs. Police and prosecutors are on the same team and until there's a "not guilty" verdict that legally ends it, the state will try it as many times as necessary to get the result it wants to hear. Our Jacksonville criminal defense firm has the experience and knows the relationships inside and out of the courthouse to help you know how hard the state will press, should you be charged with a crime.

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.

Man wants help for gunshot wound, but won't talk to Jacksonville police

November 13, 2011

A 45-year-old Jacksonville man walked to a fire station for help after he said he was shot while playing cards and drinking. Rescue crews took him to a hospital with gunshot wounds to his chest and arm, but the injuries were not life-threatening, according to the Florida Times-Union. He said little to rescue personnel, other than "Help me," the newspaper reported. But when it came time for him to help police, the victim shut down.
This causes serious problems for the police.

While it's not required, prosecutors typically have the cooperation of the victim when moving forward with a case. It certainly makes the state's job easier. If police do make an arrest and it goes to trial, the jury will want to know where the alleged victim is. If he's not there, they'll want to know why. The victim can help police only as much as he or she wants to. Detectives cannot force him to identify a shooter, or anyone else for that matter, if he or she doesn't want to. Sometimes, the state attorney's office forces alleged victims to testify and are physically brought to court by investigators. Some of these "victims" made up their story to he police in the beginning of the case and do not want to carry on the lie any further. That is why it is so important to speak to an experienced criminal attorney about your criminal case and your constitutional rights.

Police and prosecutors prefer hard evidence at trial and our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm knows how to find weaknesses in the state's case. Our experienced criminal firm looks at every aspect of the case against you or your loved one - focusing on what can be admissible at trial.

As far as the man shot while playing cards, he may know the shooter, he may not. Until he talks, no one knows - including the police.

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.

Man arrested for DUI Manslaughter in St. Augustine six months after two passengers die in crash

November 11, 2011

A St. Augustine Beach man was arrested last week, charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter after a one-car crash that killed both people riding in his car. The driver was hospitalized in the crash and toxicology results showed the driver had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, according to the St. Augustine Record. The newspaper reported he also had marijuana in his system. Often times in traffic crashes, police have to wait until test results are finished before charging someone with driving under the influence in Jacksonville and all of Florida. Just because you are not immediately arrested does not mean you are off the hook. Police do not make an immediate arrest for misdemeanor DUI because they may charge DUI manslaughter if the suspect's blood alcohol level is above the legal limit of .08. In order to be convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida, the state attorney must prove your normal faculties were impaired and you contributed to someone's death while driving.

With a blood-alcohol level that high, the driver likely had little doubt what the results would show. That's the time to get an attorney - immediately after the crash. Our St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys can start early planning your strategy and letting you know your options long before the charges come. If you are represented during the investigation, criminal defense attorney can talk to the police for you and negotiate a time for you to turn yourself in, if needed, so police don't come to your work or home and make more of a scene than necessary.
In this case, the suspect was run down by the U.S. Marshal's Regional Fugitive Task Force, who found him inside a St. Augustine Beach home. Police investigated the one-car accident for six months. The suspect, who did not have a driver's license, was the only one in the car wearing a seatbelt. He hit a tree on S.R. 13 just after 8 p.m. one May evening. Now, he's in the St. Johns County jail on a $225,000 bond.

If you have an idea the police will be hunting you down soon, you're probably right. Hire an experienced Northeast Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer can work on your case prior to the physical arrest and help contain the problem immediately.

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

University of Florida students caught having sex on picnic table at Jacksonville courthouse construction site

November 9, 2011

While they are usually smart people who go on to successful careers, college students do more than their share of stupid stuff. They blow off class. They start drinking in the early morning for late afternoon football games. They scale 6-foot fences and have sex in broad daylight on a picnic table next to a federal courthouse. OK, the last one is a less common college experience, but it's a spot two University of Florida students found themselves in last month in downtown Jacksonville, according to a News4Jax report.

The 21-year-old man and 23-year-old woman were in Jacksonville for the annual Florida-Georgia football game when they were flagged by police. Both were naked and the man tried to run, but didn't get too far. Not surprisingly, both had been drinking. They were charged with indecent exposure in and trespassing in Jacksonville, both first-degree misdemeanors in Florida that carry up to a year in jail. Not hard time by any means, but enough to derail career prospects after graduation. Most people are going to trip up when they're young. The key is minimizing the damage and moving forward.

Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm has represented hundreds of people who, quite frankly, made terrible decisions while drinking. We've gotten clients into pretrial programs where, if they meet a series of conditions, the charges are dropped. Don't compound your mistakes by trying to handle it on your own. You need experienced a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who can help pick up and move on from a bad decision.

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

Many Arrested in Jacksonville Over Florida/Georgia Weekend

November 7, 2011

Florida/Georgia weekend is always a busy time for Jacksonville. Along with all the fun, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is out in force. According to the Florida Times Union, thirty-three people were arrested for various crimes in Jacksonville. In addition to the 33 arrests, 101 people were arrested or given a notice to appear for drinking under the age of 21. The criminal charges consisted of one felony, a possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and various misdemeanors.

The most common "arrest" during any football game in Florida is "Possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21 prohibited". Under Florida Statute 562.111, it is illegal for someone under 21 years-old to have alcohol in their possession. If you are caught for this misdemeanor in Jacksonville, the police officer will most likely issue a Notice to Appear. This is a piece of paper that instructs you to make a court date for the Jacksonville criminal charge. The paper is given to you in lieu of the officer actually arresting you. If you are issued a Notice to Appear, it still technically is an arrest and will be on your permanent criminal record. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Attorney about your Notice. A Duval County criminal defense attorney can investigate the case and possibly get you into a diversion program, such as the Pretrial Intervention Program, or get the case dropped completely.

Other common crimes people are arrested for at football games in Jacksonville are Disorderly Intoxication, Battery, Disorderly Conduct/Breach of Peace, and Trespassing. You can be arrested for disorderly conduct in Jacksonville if you corrupt the public morals, outrage public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of people who witness your behavior. You can also be arrested for this crime in Jacksonville if you engage in fighting. Disorderly conduct is a second degree misdemeanor in Florida and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail. You can be arrested for battery in Jacksonville if you intentionally touch someone against their will or intentionally harm someone. Battery is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida and if convicted, you will be facing up to one year in jail. Trespass charges in Duval County usually stem from someone acting up on private property and the owner asks that person to leave. If the person comes back onto the property, they can be arrested for trespassing in Jacksonville.

If you are facing any criminal charges in Northeast Florida, contact our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to answer your questions.

Detective arrested in Clay County in gambling house investigation

November 5, 2011

A decorated Neptune Beach detective who provided input into the city's gambling laws now finds herself on the other side - facing a felony charge for her alleged involvement in a Clay County gambling house operation. Detective Camille L. Burban was one of four people arrested in Clay County, according to the Florida Times-Union. She is charged with being the "keeper of a gambling house." The Florida felony charge is considered a third degree felony and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Burban's boyfriend owns a company that sells pool tables and pinball machines, along with video poker and slot machines. Burban's Facebook page says she has worked for the company more than 20 years, the newspaper reported. According to the police report, the company installed the machines for free at two Clay County bars and would get a 50-50 split from the money collected. Two others were arrested last month, the alleged delivery drivers for the company. Burban called Clay County police several times after the first two were arrested, trying to get back a van that was seized in the first arrest.

Her Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney says he can't figure what she's accused of doing wrong and Burban maintains her innocence, the paper reported. Her attorney said Burban answered a few questions from the Neptune Beach City Council when the city was drafting its gaming ordinance and did not play the "instrumental role" her arrested report claims.

The case brings up the important legal question of ownership when it comes to criminal charges. If, in fact, the machines are illegal, what was Burban's role? Did she know of or direct the activity? It's similar to when police find a bag of marijuana in a car with four people inside. It has to be someone's. Sometimes all four are charged, but when it comes down to the end, does a jury have enough confidence to say who it belongs to - beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is a question about ownership or possession in a criminal case, our Clay County criminal defense lawyers know the questions to ask that will shine a light on what the police can and cannot prove.

Burban has been put on unpaid leave, but the police chief said he's stunned that one of his top investigators has been accused on something like this. Time will tell if those accusation can be proven.

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

If you would like more information on this story, see:

FDLE clears St. Augustine officer in arrest of city commissioner, but final word is State Attorney's

November 3, 2011

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement last week said a St. Augustine police officer followed proper procedures when he arrested City Commissioner Errol Jones during a domestic dispute. That report from the St. Augustine Record has left many saying the misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence must be true and Jones is guilty.

Not true.

While it's all well and good that one police agency is patting another police agency on the back, it means absolutely nothing in Jones' St. Johns County misdemeanor case.
In all criminal cases in the state of Florida, including charges in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, the State Attorney's Office makes the final decision on whether charges will be filed. Just because someone is arrested does not mean the case will go forward.
In many cases of resisting arrest, it comes down to the officer's word against the suspect. Jones' case is no different, it is just getting more attention because he's an elected official.

Jones was arrested at his mother's house, where he says he was trying to calm down a dispute between his niece and his brother's roommate. Jones said a police officer grabbed him by the wrist and, when Jones told him to stop, the officer slapped handcuffs on him. The officer said Jones was intoxicated - which the commissioner denies - and disrupting the crime scene. Police said Jones played the dreaded "Do you know who I am?" card and told officers they would not have jobs the next week.
So who's right?

That judgment lies for now with prosecutors and possibly with a jury down the road - but certainly not with the FDLE. A regular citizen's word against a police officer's word can be an uphill battle and that's where skilled St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys come in.

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

For more information on this St. Johns County story see: