One Trial or Two? Why it Matters
A Miami criminal defense attorney may request that a defendant be given more than one separate trial in certain circumstances. This may happen if the defendant has been charged with multiple offenses and the offenses are alleged to have been committed at separate times and are not necessarily connected with each other. Prosecutors tend to prefer to have all offenses tried together, especially if one of the alleged offenses is particularly convincing. The thinking on both sides is that a jury who decides that a defendant is guilty on one charge may be more likely to decide that he or she is guilty on other charges as well, while different juries separated by time may think quite differently.
The situation has arisen recently with the trial of a young man, William Ruben Ebron Jr. Ebron has been charged with several offenses, two of which are linked together and relate to alleged neglect of his girl friend’s young child and lying to the police. The other charges relate to an alleged attempt or a plan to escape from jail, about a month after the defendant was arrested and incarcerated.
Ebron’s state defense attorney has argued that the charges are separated in time by a month and therefore they should be heard by different juries at different trials.
The circuit judge who was in charge of the trial dates has not yet ruled on whether this will be allowed.
The alleged crimes are quite complicated. Ebron has been accused by police of child neglect. The child referred to is little toddler, Lonzie Barton, who was apparently left in Ebron’s care by his girlfriend, Lonna Lauramore Barton. Ebron has claimed that the little boy was left in his car while Ebron was inside his house and the car was then stolen.
The car was indeed found about a mile away, but little Lonzie was nowhere to be found. Police think that Ebron knows more than he has let on about the 21 month old child’s whereabouts but have no direct evidence to incriminate him and have not pressed further charges of murder.
The lying charge relates to the fact that Ebron apparently phoned the police to report the fact that his car was stolen. Meantime, his girlfriend, Lonna, was working in a nearby “Gentleman’s Club” and has also been charged with child neglect and lying to the police. Plice claim that Lonna Barton initially said that she had never met Ebron before and did not know who he was.
Ebron’s second set of charges have been laid because police alleged that he plotted to escape from the jail he was in and have in fact charged him with 3 separate charges, all related to the alleged escape plot.
There seems to be some doubt about what length of time between crimes alleged to have been committed is sufficient to establish that two or more separate trials are necessary. Ebron’s defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender James Boyle, said that if the escape bid was just after the first charge was laid, then this would be enough for him to concede that a single trial would suffice, but insists that the month difference means that two trials are necessary.
Florida does have a rule that any defendant facing a criminal felony charge is entitled to a speedy trial i.e. The trial should commence within 175 days after arrest under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.191(a). In a misdemeanor, the trial must commence within 90 days. If there is any advantage to the defendant of a later trial, then he or she may have to waive their right to a trial within 175 or 90 days, such as when taking a defense continuance.
However, the Defendant may later make a Demand For Speedy Trial, which requires that a trial commence within 50 days. To take advantage of the remedy for non-compliance with a Defendant’s speedy trial rights is, the Defendant must first file a “notice of expiration of speedy trial time periods”, Then, if the Defendant is not brought to trial within 15 days, the case must be discharged or dismissed upon a filing of “defendant’s motion for final discharge”. The technicalities required to invoke these rights require the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. The best criminal defense lawyers read up on the latest changes and tweaks to the laws and rules governing speedy trial, to protect the rights of his or her clients.
Many penalties in Florida are harsh and anyone who is charged with a criminal offense should seek the services of an experienced and successful Florida criminal defense attorney to make sure that all the facts are taken into consideration and they get the decision they deserve.
Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.