A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Instant Message from Republican Congressman Mark Foley: I Resign

From now resigned Republican Congressman Mark Foley's website:

"he has supported a host of measures to strengthen the ability of law enforcers to do their jobs. Many of the bills would allow law enforcers to clamp down on child abusers, drug dealers, rapists, slave traffickers, illegal aliens and Internet pirates"


You can read about his resignation here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Since 1972, Florida Has Never Executed A White Person for Killing a African American

A story in today's St. Pete Times reports that an ABA study on Florida's Death Penalty finds the need for "substantial reform to make it more fair and accurate"

According to the Times, the eight-member team assembled by the American Bar Association said in a 403-page report released today that the state should create a commission to study wrongful convictions and recommend methods to protect the innocent.

Florida leads the nation in exonerations, with 22 death row inmates released from prison since 1973.

According to the Times, the team took no stand for or against the death penalty but compared the state's procedures against 93 ABA standards and found Florida in compliance with only eight.

Members called for a new requirement of unanimous jury verdicts for death sentences, (author's note, this was the subject of a bill in Florida that failed this past legislative session) since Florida is the only state that allows a jury to decide by mere majority.

The report also recommended the state adopt standards ensuring a convicted person will have qualified attorneys who receive adequate payment during the appeals process; create statewide standards determining who can be charged with a capital crime; and establish new rules forbidding death sentences and executions of those with serious mental disabilities.

One of the team members says he "hopes the state takes the report's recommendations seriously and enacts changes so "innocent people are not put to death."

Not a bad idea.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Conservative Media Hypocrisy and Nancy Grace

The buzz is that this woman who's kid went missing, shot herself after being grilled by Nancy Grace about whether she was the killer of her own child. The story is here.

Highly possible.

I've spoken before about Nancy Grace. ("Your Objection is Overruled") who I think does nothing more than irresponsibly play into the mob mentality of Americans who think the criminal justice system should operate without defense lawyers, and without a constitution.

But honestly, I'm not ready to blame her for this woman's suicide. Maybe after the interview the woman came to terms with the fact that she killed her kid. I don't know, and either does anyone else. The only two people who know are her, and her kid, and they're both dead.

My interest in this story is with the conservative media pundits who jumped on the "how dare she" bandwagon last night. Even Joe Scarborough, whom I happen to like, was talking about the story with the phrase "Nancy Disgrace?" on the screen.

What's the deal? Is even the conservative right tired of her espousing hate for the criminal justice system? I thought you guys all quietly loved her.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's not even a date anymore, it's a historical term, like only one other date - July 4th.

The two of course have opposite meanings. One means freedom, and the other, reminds us how fragile our freedom has become.

Fragile, like the sand sculpture my daughters made for me on a recent vacation that was broken in two places by Homeland Security, looking for drugs in the name of terrorism. At least like the good citizen who hits a parked car, they left a note.

Everything is terrorism today, and anti-terrorism. Those fake purse round-ups, are now anti-terrorism efforts. All drug offenses, can be "traced to Bin Laden." ID Theft, terrorism. All financial crimes, fund terrorism.

I support strong anti-terrorism efforts, and I have no problem with searches at airports, or having to show my ID a bit more in this country, but I do wonder if we have our eye on the ball sometimes.

Take a look at this report by TRAC, that details the criminal terrorism enforcement efforts of the United States in the five years since 9/11.

Interesting Stuff.