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Sotomayor and Criminal Law

Broward criminal attorney William Moore has been researching the prominent criminal cases Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was nominated yesterday by President Obama to serve as Justice Souter’s replacement on the United States Supreme Court, has ruled on in her years as a federal judge in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Although Judge Sotomayor is perhaps best known for her ruling in the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, she has also decided several important criminal cases.

Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore is particularly interested in her record on search and seizure issues. She held that a New York City ordinance which impounded the vehicles driven by people who were suspected of driving under the influence was unconstitutional, because it did not allow a procedure to challenge the impoundment – even after many months had elapsed and even when the charges had been reduced.

Judge Sotomayor dissented from the majority in a case dealing with the use of strip searches. Teenaged girls who were being held in a juvenile detention center were subjected to strip searches without cause. Although Judge Sotomayor found that some of the strip searches were conducted constitutionally, only those that were conducted with “individualized suspicion” were legal. Individualized suspicion is the concept that the authorities must have a reason to believe that particular person was engaged in wrongdoing. Therefore, the juvenile detention center could not conduct strip searches of the adolescent girls when there was no reason to have individualized suspicion with regards to some of the girls strip searched.

On a different type of search case, Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney notes that Judge Sotomayor also supported the concept of individualized suspicion when conducting a search. In that case, an employee of the federal Department of Transportation was suspected of “work-related misconduct.” Therefore, the agency conducted a search of his office computer. The employee was subsequently fired based on the information found in the search.

Sotomayor, if confirmed by the Senate, will be the first Latina and only the third woman to ever sit on the Supreme Court. Her confirmation hearings are expected to occur this summer, in advance of the next Supreme Court session, which begins in October. Sotomayor grew up in the housing projects of the Bronx and, despite her Ivy League education, is considered to have a different background than any of the current Justices.

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in all kinds of criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A conviction for a felony or misdemeanor can have consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in the south Florida area, contact William Moore, P.A., which has offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.

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