Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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Yesterday the murderer of our client’s son was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Eric Ellington shot Julian Soler numerous times while in the process of carjacking Julian and his friend Kennia Duran at a gas station. Neither of the young people resisted, but Ellington killed Julian because “he didn’t look scared enough.” An accomplice yet to be tried killed Kennia. 3 years later the killer received his sentence.

We represented Julian’s mother Janine Diaz in a civil negligent security case against the business where the shootings took place. The Soler and Duran families have suffered the worst kind of loss imaginable, and have done so with dignity.

Now that Julian’s killer is going to prison for life, it begs the question: who wins by sending the killer away? One answer is that society does, because someone with so little regard for human life will no longer threaten the safety of the public. Another is that the families who lost their children do because there is some sense of justice. No, it will never bring back these two young people, whose lives were out in front of them. It will never erase the tears of Janine Soler that she has and will continue to shed when she thinks about her son.

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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Seminar logo - red cropped.jpgThe Miami Beach shooting incident during Memorial Day weekend has changed the ‘foreseeability’ factor for resort crimes in the area.

Most negligent security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability: Was the incident reasonably foreseeable by the owner or business?

One of the tools used to analyze foreseeability is the crime grid, which has been held admissible at trial, and involves obtaining from a police agency a record of the service calls for the area around the address of an incident.

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Golf Ball.jpgAn attempted robbery on the Deerfield Country Club golf course has left a golfer dead. The Sun Sentinel reported that Lataurus Randall, a 35-year-old man, was playing golf with Melvin Philpart near the 17th hole around 6:30 p.m. when two masked man stepped out of the bushes and attempted to rob them. Mr. Randall was shot in the back. Mr. Philpart was not injured. Mr. Randall was rushed to North Broward Medical Center by Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue but died Friday morning.

A golf course expert was quoted in the Sentinel article saying that most carts and golfers are not on the course that late in the dark. But this was not the first shooting at a South Florida golf club, according to the article. In 2009, a man shot at a golfer and nearby homes of the Killian Greens Golf Club. In 2006, a shop employee at the Forest Oaks Golf Club in Palm Beach County was shot while closing the store. And in 1998, a 65-year-old man was shot and killed on the 16th hole of the Bayshore Golf Course in Miami Beach during a robbery attempt.

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The city of West Palm Beach is attempting to ward off drunken violence in its entertainment district, with a nine-month ban of new nightclub applications downtown. The Sun Sentinel called it a preemptive strike on what the city believes could be “a binge of booze and violence in the entertainment district”. The Sentinel reports that the moratorium will run until September 2011 if passed in a second and final vote during an upcoming city commission meeting.

Sex-Drugs-Violence logoThe ban is an addition to the ordinance passed in 2004 that allowed no more than two nightclubs or bars on each block of Clematis Street, described at the time by Mayor Lois Frankel as a haven of nighttime violence, which she attributed to a booming nightclub scene. That ordinance did not address the rest of downtown West Palm Beach. Frankel recently suggested the ban on all new downtown applications while the city considers new zoning regulations. The Sentinel reported that City Commissioner Bill Moss said there has been difficulty with police calls in several south end nightclubs.

Fort Lauderdale, Davie and Miami Beach are among the South Florida cities that have seen fatal nightclub violence in recent months. One man was killed and five people were injured during two separate shooting incidents at night clubs in Fort Lauderdale and Davie, Florida. In Miami Beach, a pistol was slipped into a nightclub and used by a gang member to kill a young man thought to be the leader of a rival gang.

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smashed pumpkin.jpgLong Island shooting at nightclub Halloween Party – The Dream Night Club in the Hamptons hosted a Halloween party Friday night, when someone dressed like the bank robbers in the film “Dead Presidents” reportedly shot two men during a fight.

New York shooting at hotel Halloween Party – A man was shot at a hotel Halloween party Saturday night. The party reportedly ‘got out of control’ at a Residence Inn in Henrietta, NY, and a man was shot in the leg. The incident is still under investigation.

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released crime figures for the first six months of 2010 compared with last year, showing an overall drop in major crimes in Florida. A total of 19,000 less violent crimes were committed. Overall crime is down 4.8%, whereas total violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) is down by 10.7%. Total non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) declined 3.8 percent.

However, the murder rate was up 3.6% and there was a 5.8 percent increase in domestic violence murder.

The Sun Sentinel reported that while the murder rate also rose in Palm Beach County compared to last year, the area saw a decline in other crimes. An official at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Division attributed some of the crime drop to progress they’ve made curbing gang crimes and robberies, in part through cooperation with patrol officers and other police agencies. The County’s increase in violent robberies was attributed to the slow economy, which typically means more desperation, boldness and brazenness.

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One man was killed and five people were injured during two separate shooting incidents at night clubs in Fort Lauderdale and Davie, Florida. The Miami Herald reported that a graffiti and tattoo artist was killed on his 21st birthday early Wednesday in the parking lot outside Club Eden, a popular Davie strip club, when he was run over by a man in a white Cadillac Escalade, following a fight. In Fort Lauderdale, before dawn Friday, a shooting in the parking lot of a club left at least five people injured, most hospitalized and at least one undergoing surgery, reported the Herald. Multiple shots were fired following a brawl between two groups of young people outside the club.

Negligent security cases generally involve an injury to an individual as a result of a criminal assault or robbery on a commercial premises. These frequently occur at malls, shopping centers, hotels, motels, office buildings, schools parking lots, or parking garages. In most negligent security cases, the plaintiff who has been injured due to a criminal act brings an action against the owner, manager and/or occupier of the premises. These are the entities that are in control of the location where the plaintiff was injured.

A duty is imposed on the owner/manager/occupier to take reasonable measures where such criminal acts are foreseeable. The Restatement (2d) of Torts §344 provides that landowners are liable for failing to exercise reasonable care to (a) discover that such acts are being done, or (b) give adequate warning so visitors can avoid the harm. There is usually no duty unless the owner/occupier knows or has reason to know of the acts of third persons.

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Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega said that Miami Beach’s Heathrow Lounge, located in the bustling nightlife area on popular Washington Ave., had security measures in place but “something slipped through the cracks,” The Miami Herald reported today.

That “something” was a pistol, carried into the nightclub and used by a gang member to kill a young man thought to be the leader of a rival gang. “We’re not going to tolerate any gang activity here,” said Noriega.

Violent crime is no stranger to Miami Beach – in the last month, a couple was robbed at gunpoint in their hotel room on Collins Avenue, and a Russian prostitution situation led to a fatal shooting at a popular Resort & Spa. In all three situations, it seems that innocent bystanders were fortunately not harmed.