crime

Florida Attorney General's Office

Attorney General Pam Bondi put added pressure Wednesday on lawmakers to increase funding for crime labs as she detailed a massive backlog of untested rape kits across the state.

"Those need to be tested because, hidden in those estimated thousands of untested rape kits, we have the potential to solve cold cases and lock up sexual predators and make Florida the safest place to live and raise a family," Bondi said during a news conference at The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Left For Dead: Inside America’s Coldest Cases

Sep 3, 2015
Scott Anger / Reveal

There are more than 10,000 known Jane and John Does in the U.S. – unidentified and unclaimed bodies languishing in limbo for years, sometimes for decades. In this episode of Reveal, we crisscross the nation tracing Jane and John Doe cases, showing why so many bodies remain unidentified despite new and powerful forensic tools. Often, the job of solving these cases is taken up by amateur Web sleuths.

She never left Harlan alive

In 1969, a young woman was stabbed to death in Harlan, Kentucky, and buried without a name.

Wikipedia Commons

The city of Key West is joining the ranks of South Florida municipalities where possession of small amounts of marijuana is treated as a civil code violation, not a criminal act.

On Tuesday, the city commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow police officers discretion to cite people with less than 20 grams of marijuana, rather than charge them with a misdemeanor. The citation would carry a $100 fine.

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/28908 - See more at: https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/28908#sthash.wG69WisW.dpuf

The death of an inmate on Florida's death row is being investigated as a potential crime, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Lloyd Chase Allen, 69, died Wednesday at the state prison hospital in Lake Butler.

He had been on Death Row since 1993, when he was convicted in Monroe Circuit Court of first degree murder for the stabbing death of Dortha Cribbs.

Facebook

A Key West man was arrested this week on a federal charge after planning to bury a backpack timer bomb on the beach and set it off remotely with a cell phone, according to a charging document unsealed Tuesday. 

According to the affidavit, Harlem Suarez, 23, listed his "likes" on a Facebook account under his real name as "Jihadist," "Extraordinary Prayer for ISIS" and "Prayers for ISIS: Weapons of our Warfare." 

State Attorney's Office

On Thursday, prosecutors did not charge the Miami Beach police officer for the Taser death of graffiti writer Israel Hernandez Llach.

The investigation determined that the death was “accidental” because Taser stun guns “are not likely” to cause cardiac death, according to the State Attorney Office’s report.

On Aug. 6, 2013, police caught the teenage graffiti artist known as "Reefa" tagging the wall of an abandoned McDonald’s. This led to a chase, and when Hernandez-Llach was cornered, Officer Jorge Mercado shocked him in the chest.

A Hate Crime Haunts Jupiter And Its Latino Community

Jul 13, 2015
Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Miami Herald

Four male students are accused of raping a mentally disabled girl in a janitor's closet at North Miami Senior High earlier this year. The cases are making it through the legal system, but it turns out there may have been another rape at the school months earlier. 

The students accused — Kenoldo Alexis, Derek Bynum, Steven Joseph and David Lombard — are between 15 and 18 years old. Court records say the four slipped into the closet with the girl and gang-raped her. 

The Miami Herald's Christina Veiga covered the story. Hear an interview with her below.

Jezebel / Giphy

Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, could soon follow Miami-Dade's lead in allowing civil citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The measure would allow police officers discretion on whether to arrest someone on a misdemeanor charge or give them a civil citation, which can result in a fine. The Miami-Dade ordinance, which was approved last month, applies to possession of 20 grams of pot or less.

Pot Possession Will Now Be Fined In Miami-Dade County

Jun 30, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

The Miami-Dade County commission voted Tuesday to allow civil penalties for certain misdemeanors, including possession of drug paraphernalia and up to 20 grams of marijuana.

Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald reports: 

Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to let police treat marijuana possession the same way they do littering and loitering — issuing a civil citation with a $100 fine that keeps the offense out of the criminal system.

Between the two, the Village of Bal Harbour and Glades County don't even have 16,000 residents. And yet, from 2009 to 2012, the Bal Harbour Police Department and the Glades County Sheriff's Office were behind an international, undercover money laundering sting operation that handled more than $55 million for drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The state of Florida hadn't seen an operation of this magnitude in years.

Craigslist

A 23-year-old Miami man faces three felony counts and a misdemeanor charge after Monroe County Sheriff's Office detectives say he offered to sell "medicinal high grade top shelf" marijuana on Craigslist.

Keys detectives saw the listing on the online classifieds website. The post also included "a picture of a green leafy substance that appeared to be cannabis," according to Deputy Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe Sheriff's Office.

FBI Files

In the early 20th century, kidnappings were a scourge on the nation.

The Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932 epitomized a time of widespread fear -- the taking of the famous aviator's son resulted in the FBI's involvement, and later the Federal Kidnapping Act, granting the Bureau jurisdiction in these cases.

Instagram

 

A well-known Miami anti-violence activist is suddenly dealing with her own tragedy.

Tangela Sears' son, David Queen, 29, was fatally shot after an argument at his apartment complex in Tallahassee two weeks ago. A suspect has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Queen was a Miami native. Sears is now trying to make sense of losing her only child to gun violence, the very thing she’s been fighting here for over a decade.

 

Luigi Caterino / Flickr Creative Commons

 

According to an FBI report released this week, almost all of the FBI’s experts who conducted microscopic hair analysis gave flawed testimony in criminal trials.

The error-filled testimony went on for more than two decades since 2000, according to the report, which is the largest post-conviction review in the history of the FBI.

The hair analysis was scientifically flawed, and in most cases bolstered prosecutors' cases against defendants, the report found. 

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