Hello and welcome to the very first blog posting in USCriminalLawBlog.com!  So let’s get started.. My name is Court E. Keeley and I am a partner at the law firm of Jacobs Keeley, PLLC, located in downtown Miami, Florida.  I am a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law licensed to practice law throughout the State of Florida.  I am also admitted to practice throughout the United States of America, and in particular, the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

I am a former prosecutor with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office and thus, I am familiar with how law enforcement investigations are conducted and how crimes are prosecuted.  I rose up through the ranks of the State Attorney’s Office to become a Career Criminal/Robbery Prosecutor.  I then helped create the State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Unit and eventually became a member of the Gang Strike Task Force focusing my time on the prosecution of Gang Homicide Cases.

I have gone to trial and obtained jury verdicts in a wide variety of crimes including but not limited to drug trafficking, armed sexual batteries, armed robberies and capital murders.  I picked my first twelve-person capital murder jury in 2011 and obtained a guilty verdict against a execution-style murderer.  As a prosecutor, I became familiar with many different areas of criminal law.  Although I was a very aggressive prosecutor in terms of the penalties I sought for violent crimes, I always did my best to wear the “white hat” carefully protecting the rights of the very same people I may have sought to imprison.

I named the blog “USCriminalLawBlog.com” because I thought that the name was most descriptive of what this blog is all about.  In the United States of America, our criminal laws are primarily based on the fundamentals of US law.  Although most people arrested are prosecuted in their own state’s court system under state law, the fundamental protections afforded by the US Constitution still apply.  The primary amendments that come into play within any criminal case are as follows:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.          

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

There are many other laws and rights that come into play when one deals with a particular problem or an issue in criminal law.  I intend to begin blogging on recent criminal law developments and how they may impact criminal cases within the US in an effort to give my readers a better understanding of their rights and the unique issues that may arise in criminal cases.

Your rights are important.  Protect them vigorously!