Our Economic Crimes Unit focuses solely on crimes involving financial fraud and major money schemes. These prosecutors have a lot of experience delving into the many layers of such crimes which helps them clearly put together a case for successful prosecution.
A website offered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Attorney General’s office is available to benefit those who may be a victim of identity theft.
This website, www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft, offers crucial information to victims of this crime. One of the components of the site contains instructions for initiating an identity theft claim. It also contains an “Identity Theft Victim Kit” to assist users in navigating through the process of rebuilding their good names.
The information offered is vital to those who may be a victim, but it also contains educational information regarding the far-reaching ramifications of the crime.
Identity theft is a third degree felony and defined as the illegal
acquisition of personal information such as name, social security number, driver’s license, or bank/credit account number in order to engage in unlawful acts. The Economic Crimes Unit of the State Attorney’s office aggressively pursues identity theft prosecutions throughout the five-county circuit.
One of the underlying philosophies of the State Attorney’s Office is to concentrate prosecution resources to target repeat, violent, or dangerous defendants. Towards this end, we have specially trained, experienced prosecutors who are assigned to review, file, and prosecute cases involving the use of a firearm. These individuals use many tools, such as Florida’s 10-20-Life law, to obtain appropriate prison sentences for those that choose to use a firearm as part of their criminal activity. These specially designated prosecutors also work closely with Federal prosecutors to determine which venue, state or federal, permits the most appropriate sentence. Firearms prosecutors additionally provide training and advice to local law enforcement and community groups to assist them in combating firearm offenses.
The Homicide Unit of the State Attorney’s Office is made up of experienced prosecutors who focus solely on prosecuting homicides. The prosecutors work closely with other law enforcement agencies as cases are developed. The prosecutors have investigative and support staff who also focus solely on these crimes, as homicide cases are usually very complex. The prosecutors in the Homicide Unit are based in Fort Myers and handle cases throughout the 20th Judicial Circuit. They handle the bulk of the homicide cases but other experienced prosecutors in the office also assist in prosecuting the homicides.
The Juvenile Prosecution Unit handles criminal cases filed against individuals between 10 and 17 years old. If a child under the age of 10 commits a crime, he or she may be referred to the Juvenile Assessment Center for further intervention.
If a person is 18 or older, he or she is legally considered to be an adult.
The juvenile justice process differs from the adult criminal process in a number of ways. While the adult criminal justice system is designed to be punitive, the juvenile process focuses on the best interest of the child.
When a case involves allegations of an extremely serious nature, and the juvenile is 14 years old or older, the State Attorney may consider directly filing charges against the juvenile as an adult into Circuit Court. This means the juvenile could face adult penalties.
“Post Conviction” cases traditionally refer to cases filed under Florida Statute 3.800(a) (illegal sentencing), Florida Statute 3.850 (ineffective assistance of counsel, newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations…), Florida Statute 3.851 (capital cases), and Florida Statute 3.853 (DNA cases). Post Conviction proceedings occur after a case has been tried/plead and upheld on appeal. Usually a defendant files a motion with the court, setting out grounds upon which he or she believes relief should be granted. Occasionally, the initial motion is filed by an attorney. Upon court order, written responses to these motions are submitted, outlining the facts of the particular case and the relevant case law. Often, after the State’s response an evidentiary hearing is conducted—again, upon order of court. At such a hearing the State, if necessary, presents evidence to establish that the Defendant is not entitled to the requested relief.
A circuit wide post-conviction unit was established in 2004. The unit was developed out of an appreciation that Post Conviction cases are unique and time consuming. To help develop uniformity in responses, this unit was established to handle all Florida Statute 3.850 and Florida Statute 3.853 cases within the circuit.
In 2006, as the complexity and volume of Sexually Violent Predators cases grew, the unit assumed responsibility for the involuntary civil commitment of sexually violent predator cases. These cases, governed by the civil rules of procedure but blanketed with due process protections, are complex and time consuming. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) reviews individuals convicted of sexual offenses. After review, for a limited number of cases, DCF asks two psychologists to review records and meet with certain defendants to determine whether or not they meet the criteria. After such a review, a ‘staffing’ is conducted. When the recommendation is that an individual meets criteria and should be committed involuntarily for treatment, our office receives a report from the DCF team. A petition is then filed, asking the court to appoint counsel and set the cause for trial. Experts are hired by both sides, depositions taken, victims located. Trials, usually by jury, take between four and five days. After successful civil commitment, a Respondent is entitled to an annual review of his status.
The Special Victims Unit has veteran prosecutors who deal with crimes against victims such as children and the elderly. These cases can be very involved and our staff is dedicated to handling these matters that often require special attention.
Reports of physical or sexual abuse are received by the State Attorney’s office from either a law enforcement agency or the Department of Children and Families.
Our Special Victims Unit also utilizes specialized victim advocates within the State Attorney’s Office. They assist victims and their families through the criminal justice process and provide other services or referrals to crime victims.
Central Abuse Registry Hotline 1-800-962-2873
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