Beltran Litigation, P.A. will host a meet and greet for Judge Ashley Moody on March 5, 2018, starting at 6:00pm at the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s at 4330 Bell Shoals Road, Valrico, FL 33596. Area professionals and residents are invited to attend to learn more about the race for Attorney General of Florida to replace term-limited Republican Pam Bondi.
On Monday, February 5, 2018, the Thirteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission met at the offices of Bush Ross to interview sixteen attorneys who applied for the vacancy on the Hillsborough County Court created when Judge Michael Williams was elevated to the Circuit Court late last year. After a day of interviews and deliberations, Attorney Michael Beltran and his colleagues on the Judicial Nominating Commission selected six attorneys to nominate for review by Governor Rick Scott for the County Court Vacancy. In alphabetical order, the nominees were Alissa Ellison, Troy Lovell, Richard Martin, Antina Mobley, Logan Murphy, and Matt Smith. JNC Chairman Alex Caballero thanked all of the applicants and references for their participation.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISA Court”) was established in the late 1970s to correct abuses involving national security surveillance inside the United States. Of more than 35,000 FISA warrant requests during the FISA Court’s history, only about 500 have been modified and a dozen have been denied outright. Given the FISA Court’s permissive record, one must wonder why the Obama Administration engaged in such an extravagant and dishonest use of the FISA Court for political purposes, particularly after they condemned such practices by the Bush Administration in its attempt to surveil bona fide terrorists.
Because of the sensitive nature of its subject matter jurisdiction, the FISA Court’s proceedings are closed and its dockets are sealed. Due to the lack of either adversarial testing or public disclosure, the Department of Justice’s (“DoJ”) scrupulous observation of its heightened duty of candor and disclosure to the FISA Court is the only protection for Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Private attorneys in ex parte proceedings (a creditor seeking prejudgment attachment or a domestic violence victim seeking an injunction, to name two examples) owe a duty of utmost disclosure to a court, even when their submissions are subject to public scrutiny and adversarial review immediately upon service of the order initially procured ex parte. The DoJ’s ability to bring a multibillion dollar surveillance apparatus to bear on any target heightens, rather than diminishes, its duty of disclosure.
The FISA statute applies a retention period of five years for retention of “incidentally acquired” communications, presumably because that is a reasonable legislative estimate of the useful life of such information. Congress should amend the FISA statute to also require disclosure of FISA warrants and opinions after that time, unless the DoJ specifically shows that a longer seal is required in the particular circumstances of the investigation. Furthermore, the FISA statute should specifically require that the DoJ disclose any known exculpatory or impeachment evidence to the FISA Court before it issues any warrant that might impact an American citizen so that the FISA Court can properly determine the actual need for surveillance. These reforms will ensure that any overreaching is detected and corrected without unduly exposing any “sources and methods.” It would appear though, that as Rep. DeSantis (R-FL) has said, the DoJ’s “sources” are Democratic Party hacks and its “methods” are leaks and unauthorized disclosure. The revelations in the FISA memo underscore the longstanding need for FISA Court reform.
According to a recent article in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa International Airport was ranked number 6 in firearms intercepted at checkpoints. Tampa is ranked just 29 in passenger volume but nonetheless placed ahead of busier airports such as JFK, Orlando, Dulles, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Minneapolis, O’Hare, and others. Analysis of the statistics, which include 97 firearms discovered in Tampa, 90 of which were loaded, indicates that Florida’s self-defense laws, fair permitting system, and Tampa’s conservative culture sometimes cause us to forget that other jurisdictions (including federal jurisdictions) have imposed stricter regulations. Firearms obviously do not belong in the passenger cabin, so passengers should remember to unload, secure, encase, and declare any firearms that they normally keep in their purse, briefcase, carry-on item, or person. The vast majority of such intercepted firearms were undoubtedly brought into the airport inadvertently. Once a passenger is arrested and cuffed, however, law enforcement has obviously already made its decision as to whether to pursue the matters. Passengers should continue to cooperate but should cease any further attempt at explanation or answering questions until they contact an attorney experienced in handling firearms litigation.
Attorney Michael Beltran was proud to support his good friend Capt. Joe Wicker (U.S. Army, Ret.) in his Campaign Kickoff for State Representative from District 59 (Greater Brandon). The seat is being vacated by Republican Ross Spano, who is running for Attorney General of Florida, and who, along with many other prominent Republicans, has endorsed Joe Wicker. With a successful business, a wonderful family, and a pattern of public service, Joe Wicker’s record speaks for itself. Joe Wicker wants to be a State Representative because he cares about America and he cares about Florida. Joe Wicker combines moral clarity and confidence with a humble demeanor, measured rhetoric and the good personal behavior of a military officer. Joe Wicker fought in Iraq and has the guts, determination, confidence, and ability to fight for District 59. Joe Wicker is the best candidate with the best values for District 59. Support Joe Wicker and keep District 59 Red in November. More information about Joe Wicker is available at joewicker.com .
President Trump appeared to stick meticulously to the script for his first State of the Union Address, outlining both his accomplishments and the strength of the American people. Unfortunately, many Democrats conspicuously failed to applaud rising wages, low unemployment, record low minority unemployment, low prescription prices, and a high stock market. Although other Democrats immediately took to the airwaves peddling their identity politics as usual, they conspicuously ignored a small but important part of Trump agenda going forward: prison reform. The United States has one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the world, at a cost of $74 billion per year. True fiscal conservatives like President Trump and Florida Governor Scott have now gone on record supporting reforms to our penal system to ensure that incarceration serves the rehabilitative ends to which it is directed.