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Organized Fraud Charges Dismissed Twice

G.J.B. was arrested on July 9, 2005, for the offense of organized fraud under $20,000.00. The charge arose out of his association with a construction company. The company had been formed several months after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in order to take advantage of the need for home repairs.

G.J.B. retained the services of Attorney Jeffrey H. Garland on July 11, 2005. The preliminary investigation was strongly suggestive of no criminal activity. Accordingly, the investigation focused on gathering extensive documentation to show G.J.B.’s actions and intentions. The collected documents included photographs of homes being bid, contracts, checks, material invoices, employee records and credit card records.

After the appropriate materials were collected, and supporting witnesses interviewed, Attorney Garland arranged for a voluntary meeting with the investigating detective. The defendant and his attorney met with the detective without any precondition or restriction. The defendant was fully cooperative with the detective and answered all of her questions. The defendant produced the documentation for examination at the interview.

The 175-day speedy trial period expired on December 30, 2005, with any formal charge having been filed. Attorney Garland filed a motion to dismiss for violation of speedy trial rule on January 5, 2006. The motion sought to obtain a “discharge” under the speedy trial rule.

On January 9, 2006, the State elected to file a “no information” for the organized fraud charge. The defense insisted on proceeding forward on the motion to dismiss. On January 11, 2006, Circuit Judge Gary Sweet granted the motion to dismiss with the following language:

The Defendant is discharged from the crime charged and all other crimes on which trial has not commenced nor conviction obtained nor adjudication withheld and that were or might have been charged as a result of this same conduct or criminal episode as a lesser degree or lesser included offense.

With great relief, G.J.B. returned to his normal activities. Unfortunately, this would not be the end of the matter.

On June 27, 2006, G.J.B. was re-arrested for the felony offense of contracting without a license during a state of emergency. He again retained Attorney Garland on September 5, 2006. The information alleged that defendant was contracting without a license on July 9, 2005. Attorney Garland promptly gave notice of intent to rely upon defense of alibi and filed a motion for statement of particulars. The defendant was, in fact, hospitalized on the date charged. Attorney Garland separately filed a motion to dismiss the “new arrest” based upon the previous discharge issued by Judge Sweet on January 11, 2006.

The State avoided the obvious alibi by filing an amended information. The amended information alleged that the offense was committed at some time from January 17, to January 31, 2005. On receipt of the amended charge, Attorney Garland promptly filed an extensive witness list and an amended motion to dismiss for violation of speedy trial rule. Dismissal was appropriate, the motion urged, because the “new arrest” arose from the same conduct encompassed by the original arrest.

The State filed a nolle prosequi of the felony contracting without a license charge on November 1, 2006. G.J.B. is hopeful that this finally puts the case to rest.

State v. G.J.B., St. Lucie County Case No. 05-CF-2572
State v. G.J.B., St. Lucie County Case No. 06-CF-2506

The client writes:

“Dear Mr. Garland & Associates,

I want to express my deepest regards for you and your staff for the successful end of your defending myself in the two cases that were filed against me. These cases were filed erroneously and were both dismissed successfully. Your professionalism, understanding demeanor, and knowledge of the law is an uncanny combination that gave me the hope needed to go on with my life. I wish to mention also that the way your office kept in touch with me is such a huge factor of importance as the cases progressed. It was really a comforting and smooth process knowing that all of you were there to assist me through these ordeals. Thank you all for your caring and understanding. Please feel free to use this letter, my name, or have your clients contact myself for whatever reasons. I am totally committed to recommending you and your firm for any friend or personal reasons. Thank you. G.J.B.”