Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cop Popped for DUI

A report from WAVE...

A police officer is facing drunk driving charges in Washington County, Indiana and the arresting officers say he was carrying a message about drug abuse education at the time.

On Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. Scott and Tina Robbins were just about to go to sleep.

"It was so loud," said Mrs. Robbins. "I was out of the bed on the floor within a spilt second."

They heard a crash right outside their window. "I grabbed the phone and called 911," said Mr. Robbins. "The damage to the truck and the way it looked wrapped in the tree, he had to be traveling so fast."

Indiana State Police say 38-year-old John Newcomb, a Seymour Police Officer, was driving a pick up truck through Salem on Main Street.

"He side swiped a vehicle that was legally parked on the side of the roadway," said Sgt. Jerry Goodin, ISP. "After striking that vehicle, he went on and struck a tree."

It didn't take long for investigators to suspect alcohol was involved.

"He was sitting on the wall out of the vehicle, holding his head," said Mrs. Robbins. But that wasn't the only thing that stood out to the Robbins, it was the trailer Newcomb was pulling.

"It said DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and Seymour Police Department- which made me think he was a police officer," said Mr. Robbins.

Not only a police officer, but according to the Seymour Police Department website, he is the School Resource Officer, responsible for seven schools, acting as a mentor and providing students with a role model. It even states that he conducts lectures on narcotics and alcohol and their effects on driving.

"He's not setting a good example for kids that see this," said Mr. Robbins.

Newcomb, who refused medical treatment after the crash, is charged with operating while intoxicated and was booked in the Washington County Jail.

Newcomb had a dog in the truck with him. He told police the dog distracted him and that's what caused the crash. We are still waiting to hear back from Seymour Police about the current status of his job.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Movies Don't Own First Amendment

Lawsuit filed in 'Rock of Ages' photo ban • Prohibiting people from taking pictures of stars like Tom Cruise andRussell Brand on the Florida set of Rock of Ages is unconstitutional, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.

The South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and The South Florida Gay News (SFGN) sued the City of Fort Lauderdale and its police chief Frank Adderley demanding the court issue an emergency injunction.

The lawsuit alleges that the movie production and presence of stars like Alec Baldwin andCatherine Zeta-Jones "are newsworthy events which the local media is entitled to report on."

Signs posted around the Revolution Live nightclub in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where Rock of Ages is shooting, threaten the arrest of anyone taking pictures in the area. (The word "subject" is misspelled on the signs.) The city ordinance cited on the signs has nothing to do with photography or trespassing.

A police department spokesperson says no one has been arrested yet but a number of paparazzi have been warned to put their cameras away. A city official told reporters that the presence of photographers at the film location is a "public safety issue."

Attorney Norm Kent, publisher of SFGN, says the signs are having a "chilling effect upon the exercise of First Amendment rights" and police officers – including off-duty officers hired by producers of the film – are "unwitting agents of unconstitutionality."

The National Press Photographers Association has also questioned the legality of the warning and said it violates the public's right of free speech and access to public property. In a letter to Adderley, the group claims officers have been "harassing, intimidating and threatening" photographers.

"Photography may not be restricted in a public place to accommodate the whims of Hollywood or the desire by your officers to please their 'second-job' employers," wrote attorney Mickey H. Osterreicher.

If the city doesn't rescind the photography ban, protesters are planning to descend on the area with cameras for a "lunch-in" on Friday.

Producers have filming permits for three blocks in the city until June 24.

"Freedom of expression, which includes photography, cannot be controlled by movie studios from Hollywood," said Kent, "even if Tom Cruise is in the film."

courtesy pop goes the

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pot No Longer Criminal in Cali

It’s official. The possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for non-medical purposes is no longer a criminal offense in the state of California.

As of January 1, 2011, Senate Bill 1449 is law. Signed by outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October, SB 1449 amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is reclassified from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. The Governor’s decision to sign the bill was no doubt influenced by the 2,500+ NORML supporters who contacted Schwarzenegger’s office in the final days of the 2010 legislative session and urged his support for the law change.

The enactment of the law will spare tens of thousands of Californians from criminal prosecution, and will save the state tens of millions in court costs. California’s new law is similar to existing laws in Colorado, Maine,Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New York where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.

You can read more about California’s newly enacted law here