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Hey, don’t they need a warrant for that?

Thanks to the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers do not have the right to just pick up your smart phone and start browsing through your search history or reading your text messages. While the Founding Fathers may have never been able to fathom a scenario in which your SnapChat account data was your private property, they still took efforts to protect your digital rights.

However, some are starting to wonder how far those constitutional rights extend. According to the ABA Journal, a Florida police officer attempted to use the finger of a dead man to get access to his phone and begin a search for evidence.

Former mayor pleads guilty to United Way fraud

On May 9, a Florida man pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and wire fraud in a federal court in Pensacola. The defendant is the former mayor of Milton, but the charges stemmed from his job as the executive director of the Santa Rosa branch of the United Way. The branch was shut down as a result of his actions.

According to federal prosecutors, the 65-year-old defendant embezzled over $650,000 from the Santa Rosa United Way between 2011 and 2018. He did this by taking money earmarked to pay the branch's ongoing operating expenses and using unrecorded donation checks to cover the difference. He then attempted to hide his activities behind a complex scheme of financial transactions. He also tried to block internal and external audits at the branch because they would have discovered his scheme. In addition, he also failed to report the embezzled income, which totaled between $86,000 and $99,000 each year of the scheme, to the Internal Revenue Service.

Florida jury rejects insanity defense in murder trial

A Florida jury deliberated for about five hours before finding a 26-year-old man guilty of murdering a 21-year-old woman in 2017. During the weeklong trial, forensic experts told the jury that the woman died after being stabbed 21 times in the West Palm Beach home she shared with the man. Following the verdict, the judge sentenced the man to life in prison in accordance with Florida's strict mandatory sentencing laws.

The man's attorneys mounted a defense based on insanity. Doctors testified that the man suffered from parasomnia and was sleepwalking when the victim died, and his mother told the jury that she had witnessed several such episodes. The man's attorney also pointed out that police had not been able to establish a motive for the crime and stressed that his client had no history of violence and was close friends with the victim.

Man charged with murder after 2 bodies found in condo

A Florida man is facing first-degree murder charges after police discovered the bodies of two women in his luxury condo in Miami. The 46-year-old defendant allegedly confessed to the murders during a separate investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to police records, Homeland Security personnel reported the defendant's confession to the Miami Police Department. Officers then went to his condo on Northeast 32nd Street and discovered the bodies of two women in one of the bedrooms. Each of the bodies had multiple stab wounds. An upstairs neighbor told local media that she observed many investigators on the scene and smelled "a terrible smell" when the building's elevator stopped on the floor where the condo was located as she was riding it down.

Florida drug bust leads to four arrests

On April 25, authorities arrested four people on various drug charges following a drug raid at a Port Charlotte home. The defendants include three women, ages 40, 43 and 45, and one man, age 50.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, investigators executed a search warrant at the home after months of complaints by neighbors regarding suspicious activity on the street. During the search, they allegedly found methamphetamine, fentanyl, marijuana and other types of drugs. As a result, four people staying in the home were taken into custody. Canine, traffic and aviation units assisted deputies with the operation.

Florida man connected to sword slaying apprehended

A 32-year-old Florida man who police believe committed a murder in Miami Beach in April has been taken into custody in New York. The man is alleged to have used a sword to take the life of a 77-year-old man. Police have not revealed a possible motive for the crime, but they do say the man may have worked for a short time as the victim's caregiver.

Officers from the New York City Police Department and the New York City Transit Police apprehended the man as he exited a subway train in Manhattan on the morning of May 5. Reports reveal that police in Florida distributed the man's photograph to law enforcement in New York after learning that he had fled Florida and might be heading to the city. According to media reports, the man resisted arrest and faces an additional charge for assaulting a police officer.

104 arrest warrants issued for Brevard County drug traffickers

The Brevard County Sherriff’s Office six-month investigation into a drug trafficking ring has resulted in more than 60 arrests, the seizure of 75 firearms and enough fentanyl for 500,000 lethal doses. The Sherriff’s Office named three individuals—two men and one woman—as the leaders and obtained a total of 104 arrest warrants.

According to WKMG ClickOrlando, the leaders face charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, which allows prosecutors to try the leaders of a group for the crimes their subordinates committed. These charges and the sheer number of arrest warrants suggest the Sherriff’s Office may be open to plea bargains, especially for individuals willing to testify against the leaders.

47 people charged in major Florida drug bust

Florida authorities recently announced a major drug bust that led to the indictment of nearly 50 people in Polk County. Several of the defendants have reportedly been living in the United States without authorization.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the arrests were the culmination of a law enforcement investigation named "Operation Meth Death Peddlers." During the course of the investigation, officers reportedly uncovered a large drug trafficking scheme that shipped methamphetamine in from California and Mexico and distributed it to locations in Polk County, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. They claim to have seized approximately 50 pounds of drugs and an unspecified amount of cash and firearms.

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti charged with fraud

In 2018, attorney Michael Avenatti made headlines by helping porn star Stormy Daniels sue President Donald Trump over a hush-money agreement she signed just before the 2016 presidential election. However, he is now making headlines for allegedly defrauding clients and failing to pay taxes.

According to a 36-count indictment filed by federal prosecutors in California on April 11, the 48-year-old lawyer defrauded clients, including a mentally ill paraplegic individual, in order to buy a $5 million private jet and fund a "lavish lifestyle." He also allegedly failed to pay millions in U.S. taxes on the stolen income. As a result, he has been charged with wire fraud, perjury and tax evasion. If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to 333 years in prison.

GPS data for dead man leads authorities to murder suspect

What began as a missing person's investigation turned into a murder investigation when Alachua County Sheriff's deputies found the Florida man's body on County Road 234 near Micanopy. After locating the victim's car at an apartment complex in southwest Alachua County, authorities found a portable GPS device. Its data about the man's last trips in the vehicle revealed the address of a man who has now been charged with first-degree murder. The victim had apparently gone to that address about a month before he was reported missing.

The metal fragments found in the body indicated death by a gunshot wound. According to detectives from the sheriff's office, the suspect's apartment had blood on the wall and floor. The suspect also appeared along with another person on surveillance video from a local Walmart buying a blanket that was later collected from the area of the victim's body.


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