Articles Posted in Police

A St. Johns County police sergeant was fired and arrested, charged with a felony after his supervisors say he was stealing money by claiming to be in two places at the same time. The sergeant was arrested after an internal investigation found he was charging for working for the sheriff’s office and for an off-duty job on the same days, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was charged with organizing a scheme to defraud of less than $20,000 and with two counts of filing false documents as a public official. All three charges are third-degree felonies in this St. Johns County Theft Case with maximum penalties of five years in state prison on each count. It’s unlikely in a case like this, but the now former sergeant could be facing up to 15 years in prison if the judge chose to run the sentences consecutively.

The sergeant had been with the department for 16 years, the newspaper reported. He was accused of patrolling a neighborhood on-duty and also being paid for patrolling at the same time in an off-duty capacity, the newspaper reported. An audit of time sheets confirmed what police called a “classic case of double-dipping,” in this St. Johns County Theft Case, the newspaper reported. Not only would the officer be putting his career and his retirement on the line – public officials in Florida convicted of felonies in connection with their employment can have their pension revoked – the sheriff’s office could have some problems with potential cases where this officer is a witness.

If a witness in a trial has even been convicted of a crime of dishonestly, you can bet that a St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will bring it up at trial. Those crimes include fraud, theft, filing false documents – pretty much any crime involved with lying or stealing. If a witness has, it seriously damages his or her credibility. That rings even more true if that witness is a former police officer fired for a crime of dishonesty. Chances are, the state would not being calling him as a witness anymore, but you can bet a St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney would do so if that former sergeant was in any way, shape or form associated with a case. When police officers are involved in crimes, it does more than just alter their lives. It causes prosecutors and defense attorneys to take a close look at those cases and perhaps reevaluate strategy in terms of pursing or fighting the charges. An experienced St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly examine all of the facts or your case, and the witnesses who will be used against you, and use everything at their disposal to defend you or your loved one.

A Jacksonville police officer faces three misdemeanor charges, after being accused of assaulting his wife and her father during an argument this month. Clay County police were called to his home after the officer was allegedly threatening his wife and fighting with his father-in-law, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He is charged with two counts of domestic assault, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine. He is also charged with resisting an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

The actual charges do not reflect the headlines and the takeaway from the media coverage on the Clay County arrest. In the police report, the officer’s wife claims he has pointed a gun at her in the past, and those details dominate the story. But he is not charged with any crime that involves a firearm. If he was, that would be a felony and he’d be looking at the potential of serving time in state prison. But the state would have difficulty trying to prove a case that the wife was threatened with a gun, but didn’t call police. Police did take the officer’s gun into evidence, the newspaper reported, so technically there could be the possibility of upgrading the charges in this Clay County Domestic Violence Case, though that charge appears to be more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Either way, the arrest itself in this Clay County Domestic Assault Case will likely result in at least a placement on desk duty while the case resolves itself and could lead to a suspension or even termination.

Though they are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between assault and battery in Clay County Domestic Assault Cases. An assault is threatening someone – yelling at the person, raising a fist – anything that would indicate there is a serious possibility of violence. Battery is actual physical contact. So in this Clay County Domestic Assault case, the officer is accused of charging at his wife and then throwing punches at his father-in-law once the father-in-law stepped in and brought him to the ground, according to the newspaper report. But the punches never connected, hence the assault charges instead of battery. Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, like the resisting charge, so it would have opened the officer up to more time in the county jail and a larger fine, but would remain a misdemeanor. Clay County Domestic Violence Cases can be difficult for the state, especially because in some instances the alleged victims end up not wanting to cooperate with police once the dust has settled. The charges, though, are very serious and our Clay County Domestic Violence Attorney can fully investigate the case against you or your loved one to help you determine the best course of action going forward.

A Jacksonville police officer is now facing charges himself after detectives say he stole a $49 supplement from a local gym. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officials announced the arrest last month, saying the officer was removed from the street while the investigation was being conducted, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Surveillance video from the gym allegedly shows the officer with a bottle in his hand, ducking behind the counter and then coming back into view with nothing in his hand, the newspaper reported. The officer says he told the clerk to put the cream supplement on his account and was not trying to steal anything, the newspaper reported.

The officer in this Jacksonville Theft Case will likely be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor charge of petit theft, punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine. The severity of the charge and possible punishment Jacksonville Theft Cases is determined by the value of the property the person is accused of stealing. In this Jacksonville Theft Case, the officer would be facing the least serious charge possible. People accused of theft of less than $100 can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. When the value is between $100 and $300, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor and the penalty goes up to a maximum of one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

The $300 threshold is really the key in Jacksonville Theft Cases. Once the value tops $300, the charge becomes a felony. Grand Theft in Jacksonville is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. There are other caveats that can increase the penalty, including if the property is taken from an emergency vehicle, but the main number to know is $300. Charges in Jacksonville Theft Cases can also increase based on the person’s criminal record. If someone has one petit theft conviction on his or her record, the charge is automatically a first-degree misdemeanor – even if the property in the Jacksonville Theft Case is worth less than $100. And if the person has two or more convictions, the case becomes a felony – again, regardless of the amount. In many Jacksonville Theft Cases, first-time offenders may be offered a diversionary program, where if they meet certain conditions and pay back the value of the property, the charges may be dropped. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney can help negotiate a disposition that is hopefully favorable, and something you or your loved one can live with, complete and move on from.

Jacksonville Misdemeanor charges against an Illinois man arrested during a bomb threat and evacuation at Jacksonville International Airport will go forward, a judge ruled this month. Manuel Rivera is charged with resisting an officer without violence after police said he was acting suspiciously when the airport was emptied last week when another man told agents at a security checkpoint that he had a bomb, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. There was speculation from the outset that Rivera and the alleged attempted bomber were connected, but police have clarified the two men did not know each other and the man who said he had a bomb was acting alone, the newspaper reported.

As police tried to clear the area near the airport, an officer saw Rivera carrying a bag in a parking garage and ordered him to stop, the newspaper reported. Rivera dropped the bag and pulled away. Police took the bag and checked for explosives and other contraband, but did not find any, the newspaper reported. Rivera was arrested for resisting an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail. Typically, a resisting arrest charge comes when someone is running from police, or gives officers a hard time when he or she is being questioned by authorities. In many Jacksonville Misdemeanor Cases, the resisting charge is on top of other charges, For example, a person may turn and run when police show up a party. When police eventually catch the person, officers find marijuana in his or her pocket. Then, the defendant could be charged with resisting arrest and marijuana possession. It’s more uncommon to see resisting arrest as the sole charge, but it does happen in Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes Cases.

There are two types of resisting charges. There’s resisting without violence, as Rivera is charged, and also resisting with violence. When violence is involved, the charge becomes a third-degree felony in Duval County punishable by up to five years in state prison. In this situation at the airport, police were in the heat of a potentially dangerous situation and had to take everyone and everything seriously. The public may not argue with them arresting people on Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes to eliminate the threat and sorting it out later. Well, later is now here. There’s a fine line between resisting arrest and not following the instructions of an officer that doesn’t have a legal basis for stopping you. Now that the airport threat has been eliminated and police know Rivera was not involved, it will be interesting to see how the case plays out.

A Jacksonville police officer who’s been busted for drinking and driving before in her tenure on the force was arrested last week and charged with five counts of DUI causing property damage. Diane Jones was not on duty when she allegedly hit a car in a shopping center parking lot, then allegedly rammed in one on a nearby road, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Jones then returned to the same parking lot and allegedly hit a third car before bumping into another car twice while trying to park her vehicle, the newspaper reported.

Jones’ problems didn’t end there. Police said she refused to get out of her car and was pulled out by police when she reached for something underneath her seat, the newspaper reported. She then refused to submit to field sobriety tests and, once she was taken to a local hospital, refused to allow her blood to be taken, the newspaper reported. Had any of the crashes resulted in serious bodily injuries, Jones would have had no choice but to have her blood drawn. But since no one was hurt, she could still legally refuse.

Jones has been in legal trouble with drinking and driving before, and it’s very likely her days as a Jacksonville police officer are now numbered. She received a 20-day suspension and was ordered to undergo treatment in 2007 after she was investigated for DUI by the Florida Highway Patrol, the newspaper reported. Then, in 2011, a citizen took video of her police car being driven recklessly and police found her drinking at a neighbor’s house, the newspaper reported. Jones said she started drinking after driving and there was not enough evidence to prove she was drunk while driving. She was, however, fired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office until an arbitrator ruled she must be reinstated, the newspaper reported. Jones was most recently assigned to a position taking reports over the phone and did not have a patrol car, the newspaper reported.

A well-known Jacksonville police union president and the alleged mastermind of a $300 million gambling racket are among several suspects who had bond reduced and posted enough money to get out of jail while awaiting trial. The case, which involves gambling at internet cafes where the proceeds were purported to be going to a veterans’ charity, rocked the state last week and even led to the resignation of the lieutenant governor, who was questioned by the FBI about the consulting work she did for the charity, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.

The Jacksonville ties to this Theft Case are abundant: local Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba and his second-in-command are accused of laundering money and racketeering; Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis is accused of being the mastermind in the scheme and Jerry Bass, commander of the Allied Veterans of the World, was also arrested, the newspaper reported. All face multiple fraud, racketeering and gambling charges – all felonies in Florida. They were arrested while in South Florida for a conference and spent three nights in jail while the court sorted out the conditions upon which they could be released.

Defense attorneys in the case were upset about the way the bond hearings were handled, the newspaper reported. Once a person is arrested in Florida, they are entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours of being arrested. In this case, the hearing was continued without a decision until Thursday, despite the fact the men were arrested Tuesday, the newspaper reported. Once they were set, criminal defense attorneys then said they were too high — $1 million for Mathis and $500,000 for Cuba. In most cases, the suspects are able to use a bondsman who will post the bond if the suspect pays 10 percent – so that would have been $100,000 for Mathis and $50,000 for Cuba.

A Jacksonville police officer will appear before an internal police review board to face possible discipline for running a stop sign and causing an accident that injured three people. The officer also suffered minor injuries, but was not hospitalized following the crash last week, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The injuries to the three people were not thought to be life-threatening, the newspaper reported. The officer was in his patrol car and on-duty, but not responding to a call at the time, and would be considered at-fault for running the stop sign, according to the newspaper report. Not only will the officer face work-related discipline, he or she could also be exposed to a traffic ticket for running the stop sign, perhaps even a careless or reckless driving ticket in Jacksonville.

Traffic violations can quickly get very costly and drive up other costs, including auto insurance rates. And by simply paying the ticket and moving on from a Jacksonville Traffic Case, a person is admitting guilt and accepting the penalties. Just a few tickets in a short period of time can result in a person having their license suspended and driving privileges taken away. Duval County Traffic violations are scored on a point system, depending on the ticket that is issued. Speeding tickets have a wide range of points, based on how far over the speed limit the ticket is written for. A reckless driving ticket will assess you four points, while leaving the scene of an accident can cost a driver six points. As the points accumulate, they can add up to big trouble, including:

12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension 18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension 24 points in three years: 1-year suspension

An officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was charged with theft in Duval County last week after she allegedly stole a purse that she thought was brought to a police substation after someone found it in the parking lot. But, the purse was really brought by an FBI agent as a decoy after police were given a tip that Cheryl Cummings was stealing items from the substation, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Cummings was then allegedly seen on surveillance video taking the purse to her car, where it was for several days before the purse disappeared, the newspaper reported.

She was charged with Jacksonville petit theft, a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida punishable by up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation and a $500 fine. She has been a police officer for more than 15 years and has been on light duty working at this substation on Jacksonville’s Westside for medical reasons, the newspaper reported. After Cummings was contacted about this Jacksonville theft investigation, she allegedly brought in a missing wallet and told an internal investigator she had taken it home and was trying to find the owner.

While the investigation continues, Cummings will be assigned to other duties and stripped of her police powers, the newspaper reported. In terms of strictly legal issues, Cummings’ crimes are not major and it is rare for someone to be jailed their first time arrested for petit theft in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. But this is a case where Cummings’ career could play in role in sentencing and could hurt her. Police officers are held to a higher standard when it comes to breaking the law – right or wrong, they are. And while she was never charged or disciplined, Cummings was also investigated on a theft charge in 2004 involving taking money for fixing someone’s credit report, the newspaper reported. That could play a role as her employment status is being sorted out.

A disgraced former Jacksonville police officer pleaded no contest last week to the Jacksonville criminal charge of soliciting a prostitute while on duty and in uniform earlier this year. As part of his sentence, David Sumlin was put on Duval County probation for four months and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, according to a report on First Coast News. The plea came just one month after he was arrested in Northeast Florida on two counts of soliciting for prostitution, a relatively short turn-around for a criminal case. Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to 60 days in jail. As part of the agreement last week, the state dropped one count and Sumlin pleaded no contest to the second.

A no contest plea means that the defendant is choosing not to fight the charges, but is technically not pleading guilty. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because the defendant is adjudicated guilty so all of the same penalties apply and as they would if he pleaded guilty in this Jacksonville misdemeanor crimes case.

Police had been tipped off that Sumlin had been soliciting prostitutes while he was on duty and officers set up a sting with a decoy prostitute to catch Sumlin in the act, the television station reported. Conservations with the confidential informant were recorded, so any evidence would likely be played in court if Sumlin opted to take the case all the way to trial. Sumlin, an eight-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, resigned from his position shortly after being arrested in November. In terms of punishment and time behind bars, Sumlin’s crime is not overly serious, as evidenced by the fact that the maximum punishment is only two months in jail for each count. But, it terms of longer-term consequences, Sumlin will be paying for this crime for some time. He has already lost his job and will likely have a tough time finding another position in law enforcement.

Police in Duval County wrapped up an eight-month investigation and are pursuing Jacksonville felony charges against at least five men charged with spray painting buildings and railroad cars near a historic neighborhood. Seventy charges have been filed against 11 different people, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Fives arrests have been made since October, the newspaper reported. One man is charged with more than 20 felonies, including Jacksonville burglary, criminal mischief causing more than $1,000 worth of damage and interfering with a railroad train. All charges are third-degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. That means one person alone is facing more than 100 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines for spray-painting and damaging property.

While decades behind bars for these crimes are pretty unlikely in this case, police don’t conduct eight-month investigations to see people get slapped on the wrist. Authorities must believe there is a serious graffiti and vandalism issue in Jacksonville and they’ll be looking to these cases to send a message that significant penalties can be levied for these crimes. This is likely a case where the penalties could be more monetary in terms of paying back the businesses and property owners for the damage that was caused, assuming it can be proven, as opposed to stacking years of prison time on the defendants in this case.

Police told the newspaper it costs railroad companies about $3,000 to paint and clean up a rail car once it has been hit by graffiti. A string of vandalisms in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood last summer caused about $30,000 worth of damage and local business owners have been fighting back by painting over the graffiti quickly, the newspaper reported. But painting over the vandalism takes time and money — expenses business owners have to come out of their own pocket for, the newspaper reported.

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