Winter Haven Criminal Defense Law Firm
Winter Haven Criminal Defense Attorney
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1519 Third Street SE, Winter Haven, FL 33880

Case Results and Testimonials

Representative Cases:

Florida v. Robert Thomas, 532 U.S. 774, 121 S.Ct. 1905, 150 L.Ed. 2d 1 (2001). Mr. Brandon J. Rafool was who successfully suppressed the contraband seized after an illegal search of Mr. Thomas' vehicle. The case progressed to the United States Supreme Court and Mr. Rafool appeared before the United States Supreme Court for oral argument on April 25, 2001 with Mr. Thomas and appellate counsel. The United States Supreme Court dismissed the Writ of Certiorari making the case of Robert A. Thomas v. State, 761 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000) the law in Florida on this search and seizure issue.

Reported Appellate Decisions:

NIELSON v. STATE OF FLORIDA, 984 So. 2d 587 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2008). Mr. Nielsen was convicted of several different offenses for events occurring over a five-year span. He alleged that the sentencing court orally imposed his sentences to run concurrently to earlier sentences he was serving and that the written sentences were illegal because they did not indicate that the sentences were to run concurrently. The Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) calculated his sentences consecutively under § 921.16(1), Fla. Stat. (1983), which provided that sentences of imprisonment for offenses not charged in the same information were served consecutively unless the trial court specified otherwise. Neither Mr. Nielsen nor the trial court could obtain a transcript of the sentencing hearing, which occurred 16 years earlier. The appellate court held that the inmate's recollection of events at the sentencing hearing were not legally sufficient to create a claim that his written sentence was illegal. The trial court did not have to create new documents to disprove the inmate's allegations. On the face of the record, the written sentences were legal sentences. Therefore, under § 921.16(1), the DOC properly calculated the sentences to be served consecutively. Unfortunately, the trial court's denial of the motion was affirmed. Winter Haven Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon J. Rafool personally handled all stages of the appeal for Mr. Nielsen.

SMITH v. CRIDER, 932 So. 2d 393 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2006). Appellant mother and appellee father were divorced under a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. The father filed a supplemental petition in the Circuit Court for Polk County (Florida), for modification of the final judgment. He also filed a motion for a temporary injunction. The trial granted the motion. Winter Haven Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon J. Rafool then filed a motion to dissolve the temporary injunction for the Appellant Mother. The trial court denied the motion. Mr. Rafool then appealed the trial court's denial and personally wrote all the briefs that resulted in the trial court's reversal by the Second District Court of Appeal. On appeal, the court noted that the father's motion did not explicitly request ex parte relief. Further, the injunction was not a distinct order entered by the trial judge but rather was a copy of the father's motion for a temporary injunction that was stamped "Motion Heard, Considered And Granted" and dated and signed by a judge. The appellate court found that entry of the "injunction" or "order" raised due process concerns under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.610. The order denying the mother's motion to dissolve a temporary injunction order was reversed, and the trial court was directed to vacate from the temporary order the injunction prohibiting the removal of the children from the jurisdiction of the court. Therefore, the trial court was required to dissolve the injunction and conduct an evidentiary hearing on the father's temporary injunction motion.

SMITH v. STATE OF FLORIDA, 835 So. 2d 387 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2003). Defendant Smith appealed a judgment by the Circuit Court for Polk County (Florida) that, inter alia, denied her motion for acquittal and convicted her, inter alia, of armed trafficking in methamphetamine. Winter Haven Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon J. Rafool disagreed with the trial court's denial of his motion for acquittal and his client's conviction. Mr. Rafool then appealed the trial court's denial and personally wrote all the briefs that resulted in the trial court's reversal by the Second District Court of Appeal. Defendant Smith was stopped by a police officer, and two plastic baggies of suspected methamphetamine were seized. The officer performed a field test on the contents and then, without weighing either of the baggies, poured the contents of the two baggies into one large bag. The bag with the suspected drugs was sent to a laboratory for testing. The appellate court held that the subsequent combining of the two baggies by the officer created a mixture containing methamphetamine that weighed more than the 14 grams required for a trafficking charge. However, the only evidence as to the contents of each of the baggies prior to mixing was the field test. Furthermore, there was no evidence as to the weight of the contents of either baggie. Therefore, the State failed to prove that defendant was in possession of the requisite amount of methamphetamine to support the armed trafficking charge. The conviction for armed trafficking in methamphetamine was reversed, and the matter was remanded.

C.G. v. J.R., 130 So.3d 776 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014) - Brandon Rafool successfully tried and defended on Appeal a final judgment against C.G. in his paternity action. The Appellate Court created law wherein it stated that despite C.G.'s status as the biological father, "[h]e has no significant relationship with [H.G.-R.]." and that it was in H.G.-R.'s best interest for J.R. to "remain as her legitimate and legal father," and the trial court ordered that the child's birth certificate reflect that J.R. was the father.

GLENROY BLACKWOOD v. STATE OF FLORIDA, 217 So. 3d 1146 (Fla 2nd DCA 2017) - Glenroy Blackwood, through Brandon J. Rafool, Attorney at Law, appealed the denial of his Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 motion for postconviction relief after an evidentiary hearing. Blackwood, a Jamaican citizen legally present in the United States, alleged that his trial counsel failed to warn him that he would be subject to automatic deportation as a result of entering a plea to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and that had he known of the deportation consequences, he would not have entered the plea but instead would have proceeded to trial. Because the only evidence provided at the evidentiary hearing supported Blackwood's sworn assertions in his postconviction motion, we reverse the postconviction court's order denying relief. The convictionwas reversed, and the case was then dismissed by the trial court after remand.

Nathey v. Nathey, 292 So. 3d 483 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2020) - We were hired by the Husband to handle the Appeal and were successful in having the Appellate Court overturn the Trial Court's characterization of the Husband's home as a marital asset with equity of $ 253,522. That property, however, was not a marital asset since Mr. Nathey constructed the home before the marriage and kept title in his name, it should have been characterized as his nonmarital property. See § 61.075(6)(b)(1), Florida Statutes (2018) (" 'Nonmarital assets and liabilities' include: Assets acquired . . . by either party prior to the marriage . . . . "); Belmont v. Belmont, 761 So. 2d 406, 408 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) ("Nonmarital assets may not be conveyed, absent agreement, to the non-owning spouse in equitable distribution.") On remand, the circuit court must treat the property as a nonmarital asset.

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