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Robbery

Robbery is defined as the forceful taking property or money from another and is classified as a violent crime which can carry with it harsher penalties and restrictions on your liberties if you are accused of this type of crime. Convictions for robbery can net you prison time, up to 15 years for a Robbery by physical force only and up to life in prison if a firearm is involved with the Robbery charge. Below is the Florida Statute defining Robbery which contains the elements the Prosecutor must prove at trial:

 

 

812.13 Robbery.

 

(1) “Robbery” means the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.

 

(2)(a) If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

(b) If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

(c) If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried no firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

 

(3)(a) An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing the robbery” if it occurs in an attempt to commit robbery or in flight after the attempt or commission.

 

(b) An act shall be deemed “in the course of the taking” if it occurs either prior to, contemporaneous with, or subsequent to the taking of the property and if it and the act of taking constitute a continuous series of acts or events.

Defenses to Robbery: Photo line-ups

 

The number one defense to robbery is for the attorney to attack the identification of the client suspect. Most identifications of suspects in robberies are done by photo-line-ups. Photo line-ups are an inherently dangerous investigative method used by Law Enforcement to establish the identification of individuals suspected of committing crimes.
The criminal Justice system is replete with stories of misidentifications resulting in innocent individuals being arrested, wrongly convicted and incarcerated in tragic tales too numerous to mention. Recently in the State of Florida law Enforcement agencies have been adopting a photo line-up admonition process; this process includes several procedural safe guards when a law enforcement officer shows a photo line-up to a witness for identification purposes. The safeguards include having a law enforcement officer who does not know the targeted suspect present the line-up to the witness. Having a warning read to the witness before the identification is made which includes telling the witness that the suspect may or may not be included in these line-ups. In 2011 House Bill 821 & House Bill 1206 were introduced to the Florida Legislature for passage that would make the following requirements of Law enforcement when showing a photo lineup:

A warning to the eyewitness that the suspect may not be in the lineup

-The eyewitness does not have to identify someone

-That it is important to exclude innocent people as well as identify who is responsible

-The investigation will continue with or without the identification of a suspect.

 

 

Both House Bill 821 & 1206 were not passed into law however this was the first legislative attempt to standardize the photo lineup procedure.

 

 

Also created and issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in March 1st, 2011 and revised June 15th, 2011 is a Law Enforcement procedure standard entitled “Standards for Florida State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies in Dealing with Photographic or Live Lineups in Eyewitness Identification”

 

 

These standards were developed and endorsed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, The Florida Sheriff’s Association, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association and in collaboration with the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

 

 

A photo-line up conducted in a case may be void of all these precautions. This in of itself does not invalidate a photo line-up identification. However it is important to note in a case where the investigating Officer did no additional investigation to establish the identity of the alleged assailants in his case before he made his arrests, a photo line-up identification may be unreliable form of evidence. The Law Offices of Darren D. Shull, P.A. defended a case in which a particular investigation, yielded such unreliable photo line-up identifications, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office mandated that an admonition policy be put in place for photo line-up identification procedure.

 

 

DNA and latent fingerprint identifications are by far and away the most reliable means to identify a possible suspect however, the State must still show that the person who made the fingerprint or left the DNA committed the crime.

 

 

Video of the event can show that a robbery occurred and the general attributes of a assailant but, more often than not cannot accurately record intricate facial features to identify a suspect. That’s when a photo-line up may be used to try to ID a suspect.

 

 

If you or someone in your family has been accused of committing a robbery, call the Law Offices of Darren D. Shull, P.A. We handle robberies and will aggressively protect your rights especially if law enforcement has used faulty or unreliable methods of identifying the person accused. Our office serves Jupiter, Tequesta, Jupiter Farms, Juno Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Hobe Sound, Stuart and all of Palm Beach County & the Treasure Coast. Darren D. Shull, Esquire is a Robbery lawyer Near me/near you.