Weekly Blog

Are Younger Kids Going to Jail a Circumstance of Gun Violence?

In recent weeks, news outlets have reported on more and more arrests of kids. While juvenile crime is not a new concept, the types of crimes and ages these children are at the time of their incarceration have caused some in the legal profession to pause. With the uptick in gun violence in America’s schools, ...

Forces Come Together for Downtown Campus Safety

On Friday, September 27, 2019, members of the UCF Police Department, Orlando Police Department, State Attorney’s Office, Valencia College Security, and the UCF Office of Student Conduct came together to discuss safety issues for the faculty and staff of both educational institutions at UCF Downtown. Hosted by the Center for Law and Policy, the goal ...

Immigration Reform Shifts Focus to Children

While most in the U.S. were glued to their televisions this past week over the news of Hurricane Dorian, the Trump administration fired another salvo in the immigration debate. This time their sight was aimed at children. In fact, over the last month or so, several policies have either gone into effect or been proposed ...

A Protected Class Or Not

While most of us have studied protected classes in law school or during our undergraduate degree, we can all agree that the question of whether a transgender individual should be provided constitutional protections lacks any substantial precedent one way or the other.  However, this week the Trump Administration began the process of seeking court permission ...

A Loophole in Federal Law

Over the last week after two mass shooting incidents in the United States and numerous close calls, many have sought the Federal Government to take a more active role in the investigation and prosecution of domestic terrorism in our country.  But while the FBI has stepped in for both California and El Paso law enforcement, ...

A Step in the Right Direction?

After a weekend where twenty-nine people were murdered within thirteen hours of each other by mass shootings, a ruling by a Leon County Judge on July 27, 2019, seems quite timely if not a bit foretelling. The ruling invalidated a state law that penalized local government officials of municipalities who chose to pass legislation that ...

Camp Law and Order

Last week the Center for Law and Policy hosted a week long summer camp entitled “Camp Law and Order.”  The program was sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association Foundation and hosted by FAMU Law School.  It found eleven high school students from Jones and Evans High School enjoy an immersive experience in the justice ...

DOJ’s Big Decision

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that it would not bring federal charges against a New York Police Department Officer who choked Eric Gardner to death five years ago in what many are calling a prime example of police brutality in America. The timing of the decision was acknowledged by everyone as it came ...

Should Bullying Be a Criminal Offense?

We have all heard of the civil tort of intentional infliction of emotions distress.  Indeed, jurisdictions all over the world have assigned financial liability upon those individuals who engage in activity that some label as bullying.  Yet few places have gone as far as to place criminal sanctions on individuals who bully or harass others.  ...

Is There a Change in the Winds?

For the first time in the 21st Century, a criminal justice reform bill has become law in Florida. Proponents call House Bill 7125 a “baby step” for criminal justice reform, but it is the first reform the state has seen in quite some time. The criminal justice reform bill reduces some occupational licensing barriers for ...

Controversial Needle Exchange Program Begins on July 1…..Sort Of

Last week Governor DeSantis signed into law a new, controversial program allowing drug users the ability to exchange used needles for clean ones. The idea comes from a pilot program that had been running in Miami-Dade County since 2016. One may be surprised that such a measure passed through the Republican led legislature in Florida. ...

Possession May Be 9/10 Of The Law But The Other 1/10 Is Knowledge

On Friday the Supreme Court of the United States surprised many with a ruling that sided with an immigrant from the Unite Arab Emirates finding that his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm was unconstitutional when prosecutors were not required to prove knowledge of the illegality of his action. Hamid Rehaif, who had his ...

Autonomous Vehicles Gain Traction in the Sunshine State

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed new legislation clearing the way for self-driving vehicles to soon become a part of our daily commute on the roads of Florida. Beginning July 1, 2019, proponents of autonomous vehicles such as car companies and tech wizards will be allowed to experiment with the driverless vehicles within the state. ...

Criminal Charges for Poor Job Performance

Of the many stories of heroism that come out of the Parkland shooting case, one that most certainly does not is the tale of now-former Deputy Sheriff Scott Peterson. Deputy Peterson was a school resource officer stationed at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School when the shooter began his rampage back on February 14, 2018. While ...

Schools Out For Summer but We’re Still Working

If you are like me than you probably have school aged children who are looking forward to this week more than Christmas, more than birthdays, well pretty much more than anything. This week marks the end of school for thousands of Orange County Public school students who after Wednesday will begin a ten-week festival known ...

Precedent for Overriding Precedent

This week the State of Alabama passed the most restrictive Abortion Law in the United States.  The law is officially known as the Alabama Human Life Protection Act and provides only two circumstances when an abortion would be legal.  The first is if the fetus has a “lethal anomaly” resulting in the baby’s death at ...

“I want people to know about him.”

In writing these blogs every week, I try very hard not to have politics in any fashion permeate through my posts. The Center for Law and Policy’s mission is to connect through empowering individuals with a passion for the law. Whether that be conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, it does not matter. The change ...

Amending the Process

Florida like many states has a process to amend it constitution.  While that process has changed over the years, a trend seems to be clear.  Legislators want to make it harder and harder for Floridians to amend the laws that govern them.  Initially, only a simple majority was required to pass an amendment.  This rose ...

The Right to Counsel for the Worst of Us.

The right to counsel in criminal trials is one of the most fundamental principles we hold dear in our criminal justice system.  It harkens back to our founding fathers and the fear of government intrusion into citizens’ lives.  The right belongs to the best of us and the worst of us.  It ensures that when ...

Impact through Contact but….vice a versa.

At the core of the Center for Law and Policy is the idea that UCF Legal Studies can impact its community through contact with the people who make up that same community. Whether that is high school students, teachers, lawyers, or the elderly, we strongly believe that through a better understanding of the law, positive ...

Blowing off steam or falling into a trap?

"When politicians attack courts as 'dangerous,' 'political' and guilty of 'egregious overreach,' you can hear the Klan's lawyers, assailing officers of the court across the Southwhen the powerful accuse courts of 'opening up our country to potential terrorists' you can hear the Southern Manifesto's authors smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black ...

Boeing 737 Max Airliner: An Isolated Incident or a Harbinger of things to Come

Many have a fear of flying.  But with the recent crashes surrounding Boeing's 737 Max Airliner, even the most veteran flyer is questioning the safety of the plane.  Yet as more information becomes available regarding the doomed Ethiopian flight, issues regarding automation seem to be front and center in the debate.  One has to question ...

Why care?

On Saturday, March 30, 2019, the Center for Law and Policy in association with the Central Florida Paralegal Association put on a CLE regarding the law and the LGBTQ+ population. The event was well attended and included presenters who spoke on a variety of topics including the history of LGBTQ+ precedent, discrimination in the workforce, ...

A College Degree Behind Bars

On Thursday, March 21, 2019, the Center for Law and Policy participated in a conference as a member of the Florida Prison Education Project (FPEP) at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. At that conference, the new head of the Florida Department of Corrections, Mr. Mark Inch, addressed the attendees confirming the importance of secondary education ...

Can social media platforms be an accomplice to hate crimes?

Last week, the small town of Christchurch, New Zealand, became the scene of an act of terror when a gunman entered two mosques and opened fire killing at least 50 people and wounding many others. When the gunmen finally surrendered, it was determined that the motivation behind his actions was his anti-Muslim beliefs. The gunmen ...

The Manafort Sentencing: An act of judicial mercy or just more evidence of sentencing disparity?

On Thursday Evening President Trump’s former Campaign Head, Paul Manafort, finally faced his day of reckoning in federal court for his crimes of bank and tax fraud. But what was expected to be a very bad day for Manafort turned into a somewhat moral victory for his attorneys when he was sentenced to only 47 ...

Florida Bar Polices US Congressman

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 — Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot” Look familiar? This was the tweet that Congressman Matt Gaetz, one of Florida’s Congressman to the United ...

Is the Timbs’ Case opening a Pandora’s Box?

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously to limit law enforcement’s ability to seize property in criminal cases especially when that property is used to enrich the agency’s own bank account under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case is called Timbs v. Indiana1 (citation yet to be ...

Should We Add Firearm to the List of Recommended School Supplies?

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool. And while Florida has been fortunate in the year that followed to be spared from additional gun violence in our public schools, the legislature took one step closer to issuing another response to the crisis with Senate Bill 7030 making its ...

If only you had voted…

They say it is important to vote.  That every vote counts.  That you can’t complain about government unless you exercise your right to choose it.  But with conspiracies and scandals circling around the 2016 presidential election many have begun to question how much one vote really counts.  Well for anyone who questions the difference that ...

Welcome to the Center for Law and Policy’s Weekly Blog

We are an extension of the UCF Legal Studies Department which is housed in the College of Community Innovation and Education which will be moving to the UCF Downtown campus in the Fall of 2019. For those who do not know about the Center, it was created in 2012 as a tool to assist our ...