Understanding the Independent Act Doctrine

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Not many people may be aware that in the state of Florida, co-defendants are nearly as much at risk of being arrested, charged, or convicted for whatever actions taken by their cohorts.  This applies even if the co-defendant did not commit the crime but did have knowledge of the elements of the criminal enterprise.  What if the co-defendant says that he or she was unaware of further plans involved in the act?  This is where the protections of Florida’s “independent act doctrine” come in.

Let’s take a look at the case of Adriana Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was arrested and found guilty of first degree murder and kidnapping after her alleged involvement in a plot to “permanently deaf and blind” victim Maciel Videla because he was accused of being a possible snitch by drug dealers.  Rodriguez was asked to lure Videla to a bar where he was then kidnapped and allegedly murdered by Rodriguez’s boyfriend.  As a defendant, Rodriguez argued that she knew only of the plot to blind and deaf Maciela and was unaware he was going to be murdered.

During her trial, Ariana Rodriguez used the “independent act doctrine” which is used when a co-defendant who participated in common plan does not actually participate in whatever acts were committed that “fall outside of, and are foreign to, the common design of the original collaboration”.  Due to this and potential errors made by the judge during the trial, Rodriguez is now entitled to a new trial because her previous one was not considered fair.

If you or someone you know is facing a criminal charge or trial, it’s imperative that you find a criminal law attorney Miami law firm that understands critical details like the independent act doctrine, so you know all of your rights and receive a fair trial the first time.

This update is brought to you by the Miami criminal defense lawyers at Bauer Brofsky Law Firm. Our areas of practice include estate planning, criminal law, tax planning, personal injury and real estate law. Call 305-712-7979 for a free case evaluation or for any questions you may have.

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