Attorney Scott Campbell

Criminal Defense Attorney

Month: June, 2017

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Sentencing in Criminal Cases. I was recently challenged by a retired city judge to justify my opinion that some defendants accused of identical crimes should receive different sentences.  I do believe this is because of different theories of punishment, as I will detail.

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

The Deterrent Theory

Under this theory, the punishment is determined by the crime.  This is “cookie-cutter” justice; every offense is associated with a certain penalty.  The purpose is to deter others from committing the crime by demonstrating what the punishment will be.  This theory is behind mandatory minimum sentencing laws, laws that don’t work as demonstrated by out burgeoning prisons filled with people serving mandatory sentences.

The Retribution Theory

Here, a sentence is dictated, influenced, or imposed based on the victim’s desire for revenge.  While we don’t literally do this, many states have laws dictating that a victim be consulted before any plea bargain and be allowed to address the Court before a judge decides on a sentence.

The Punishment/Rehabilitation Theory

Under this theory, a judge imposes a sentence meant to punish as well as allow for rehabilitation of the offender, paying less attention to the crime and the victim.

It was in a discussion of this third theory that the retired judge challenged me.  The judge asked if two defendants, charged with the same offense, should receive the same sentence.  I said, of course, depending on the situation.  This judge was almost incredulous at this idea.

The example I used, falling on deaf ears, was a husband accused of a domestic violence offense against a wife.  I gave the opinion that any fine imposed should consider the impact on the family, especially the victim and any children.  I continued that mandatory counseling should be imposed.  Some people can absorb a fine with some or little impact on their finances, but other, less well-off people cannot and the financial shortfall would affect the victim and children more than the offender.

I am happy this judge is retired, but it is a shame so many are like-minded.  If we have cookie-cutter justice, why bother with the charade so often called sentencing?

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits – Today’s Guest Blog is by The Law Firm of Percey Martinez.

A person who files a personal injury lawsuit might learn that they will be entitled to receive two types of compensations: specific and general damages. What most people might not be aware of is that they can also receive a damage known as “punitive damages”, often referred to as “exemplary damages”. What are punitive damages? Punitive damages are damages that a defendant might be ordered to pay as a result of their attempt to hurt someone or their reckless acts.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

This is a damage that the court decides whether they want the defendant to pay it or not. If the court establishes that the defendant must pay punitive damages, the plaintiff will be entitled to obtain some or possibly all of the amount that the court orders the defendant to pay. The way that punitive damage differs from specific and general damages is the reason behind the compensation. With punitive damages, they are not mandated in order to pay back the victim for the injuries caused, they are ordered to serve as a form of punishment towards the defendant’s reckless actions.

Additionally, the court might order punitive damages if they believe that the amount the victim will be receiving is not fair for the number of damages that they sustained. As mentioned above, punitive damages were created to punish the defendant, but also to deter other people and the defendant from committing the same reckless actions again. For example, drunk driving. When a victim is injured by another driver who was driving under the influence, the victim will not only be entitled to receive specific and general damages, but they will be entitled to receive punitive damages because the actions of the driver were reckless. The drunk driver knew that driving while intoxicated could lead to another person’s injuries, but they still went ahead and drove that way. With the case mentioned above, the court will most likely require the drunk driver to pay punitive damages to deter them from ever driving drunk again.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Cases Where Punitive Damage Can be Awarded

Punitive damages are not available for every personal injury case. Listed below are several different cases where punitive damages may be awarded:

  • Intentional torts like rape, assault, DUI
  • Product Liability like poorly manufactured products
  • Premises Liability

Punitive damages rarely ever amount to anything in the million dollar range. The average pay for punitive damages falls under $50,000.

Helping Victims Receive the Compensation That They Deserve Including Punitive Damages

If a person was reckless or intentionally hurt another person, the victim can possibly be awarded for punitive damages along with the actual damages they will receive. Everyone needs to be held liable for their actions and ordering a defendant to pay punitive damages is a great start in deterring them from ever committing the same action again. The personal injury legal counsels within Percy Martinez’s law firm always fight to obtain as much money as possible for their clients. They want to see justice served.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes – Today’s guest blog is by the Law Firm of Percey Martinez

When a person hears the word “abuse” they just think about physical harm or emotional abuse, but there is another form of abuse that happens in nursing homes which is known as financial abuse. It is hard to tell that financial abuse is going on in a nursing home because it is not always apparent. Regardless of it being difficult to tell, there are certainly some signs that can indicate that financial abuse is taking place.

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

An elderly person might be frail and unable to stand up for themselves and so the nursing home or nursing staff take advantage of them. They might threaten them and instill fear so that they do not report it to their loved ones. Financial abuse can lead to emotional trauma as well. With the constant manipulation and threats, an elderly person most probably will suffer emotionally. The Miami abuse litigators do not allow these nursing homes to take advantage of their residents. They want to put a stop to this injustice and work on making these facilities liable for their actions.

Financial exploitation goes unreported the majority of the time. In fact, it is the form of abuse that goes the most unreported in Nursing Homes. Concern has been growing for the elderly population with the many forms of abuse that they have been subjected to. Below will be listed some signs of financial exploitation that can spark a loved one to take action.

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

 

Signs of Financial Abuse

The fact that financial abuse can be hard to identify can be the reason why is does not get reported. An elderly person might not even know they are being exploited. The family of the elderly have to protect their loved one and recognize the signs of financial abuse. Some signs include:

  • Medication that goes missing
  • Belongings that disappear
  • Missing credit cards, money, checks
  • Missing documents
  • Altered will
  • Forged checks
  • Resident starts to hide stuff
  • Sudden invoices
  • Unpaid bills
  • More

A loved one should be diligent in reporting any of these signs to the nursing home’s administration or authorities. Once the concern has been addressed, the loved one should keep every document because proof that the loved one took action will be vital for establishing a future case if nothing gets done.

Financial Abuse Lawyers in Miami Helping Victims

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Abuse can be seen in many forms. Although financial abuse is not the same as physical abuse, it can still lead to it, just like emotional abuse can too. No harm should be done to these fragile and innocent people. An elderly person has their chances of dying increase after they have been abused. Seeking legal help is another option that the family member has. If financial abuse is taking place, perhaps other forms of abuse are taking place. The Miami abuse lawyers thoroughly investigate every inch of the case to determine what else is going on, if anything. Percy Martinez and his team want to make a difference for these victims and make the responsible party pay for their actions.