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How Does the July 2011 Ruling of Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando Affect the Hundreds of Pending Drug Cases Here in the State of Florida?

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How Does the July 2011 Ruling of Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando Affect the Hundreds of Pending Drug Cases Here in the State of Florida?

One of the questions I have gotten over the last several months is “how does the July 2011 ruling of Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando affect the hundreds of pending drug cases here in the state of Florida?” Well let me explain what happened.

In July of this year, Federal Judge Mary Scriven, in her order, ruled that the Florida law requiring the prosecutor not to prove the guilty knowledge of someone charged with the possession of drugs is unconstitutional. Florida is the only state in the union that did not require a prosecutor to prove that the person charged with the possession of drugs had knowledge they possessed the drugs. This is called a strict liability approach. Under the law, as it’s written right now, Judge Scriven opined that all passengers in a vehicle would be equally charged for the possession of drugs that were discovered in the trunk of a vehicle, regardless of an individual’s knowledge of the drugs’ existence. As it sits, the prosecutor would not be required to prove that any passenger had knowledge, or mens rea, of the narcotics. She felt that such a strict liability approach, meaning the fact that you were in a close proximity to the drugs, should not be the basis for you to be charged and ultimately convicted—that’s why she wrote that the other states require the additional element of the prosecutor proving that, not only did you have the drugs in your ready reach, but also that you had knowledge of the controlled or illegal substance.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal drug offense, or has a Florida Statue 893 case pending, I would urge you to consult a criminal defense lawyer or someone who specializes in handling drug offences. He or she may be able to advise you if your case is one that would benefit from Judge Scriven’s ruling—and ultimately, get your case dismissed.

The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in ClearwaterTampaBradentonSpring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.

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J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq.

J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.

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