Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law unconstitutional, Miami judge rules

Florida’s revised “stand your ground” law is unconstitutional, a Miami judge ruled Monday.

Miami-Dade County Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that lawmakers overstepped their authority by revising the self-defense law, putting the burden of proof on prosecutors.

Hirsch ruled that the Florida Supreme Court, and not the state Legislature, should have crafted the law.

“As a matter of constitutional separation of powers, that procedure cannot be legislatively modified,” Hirsch wrote.

The decision came in the case of Omar Rodriguez, who was indicted in 2015 on a charge of first-degree murder. Rodriguez is claiming self-defense after fatally shooting a neighbor whose dog tried to defecate in Rodriguez’s son’s yard.

As a result of Hirsch’s ruling, the judge will follow the previous version of the contentious self-defense law that was enacted in 2005.

Rodriguez’s attorney, Alan Ross, said he was disappointed with Hirsch’s decision. Ross said his client was defending himself from Jose Rey, who had threatened Rodriguez with a knife.

Gov. Rick Scott recently signed the revised “stand your ground” law into effect.

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Hot air balloon crashes into pond near Disney World

A hot air balloon crashed into a retention pond Monday morning near Walt Disney World.

One person was injured in the crash, which was reported near State Road 429 at Western Way, Orange County Fire Rescue said.

The deflated balloon was located near the southbound lanes of SR 429. 

Fire Rescue officials said 15 people, including children, were on the side of the pond, but it’s not known if all were aboard the balloon.

No other details, including what caused the crash, are immediately known.

AIRCRAFTW – S SR 429. Hot air balloon into retention pond. 15 ppl on side of pond. No haz, 1 BLS, cancel additional units.

— OCFire Rescue (@OCFireRescue) July 3, 2017

We’re heading to #BreakingNews off SR-429 in Orange County. One person injured after hot air balloon makes emergency landing. https://t.co/p8UVacDql0

— Mark Lehman (@MarkLehman6) July 3, 2017

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Carjacked limo crashes into downtown Orlando building, police say

A man was taken into custody early Monday after he carjacked a limousine driver and crashed into a building in downtown Orlando, police said.

Police said they were flagged down by the limo driver in front of Gino’s Pizza. The driver said he was pulled out of his Ford Excursion, and the assailant drove off. The limo driver suffered some cuts, but is expected to be OK, police said.

Orlando police said witnesses spotted the truck going the wrong way on nearby Pine Street. 

Officers said the driver turned around before they got behind him in an unmarked pickup truck. Police told News 6 that they were going to wait until they got to a less crowded area before attempting a traffic stop, but before that could happen, the driver reversed course and slammed into their truck. 

Police said the driver then sped forward before crashing into a tree, planter and the side of the O’Gallery building, which sustained minor damage. 

Prior to the carjacking, the driver had been kicked out of the Bullitt Bar on Pine Street and got into an altercation with a security guard at The Plaza, police said.

It is believed the man was under the influence. 

Police have not released the suspected carjacker’s name or the charges he will face.

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Woman faces child neglect charge for leaving 1-year-old in car

A woman is charged with child neglect after deputies say she left her -1-year-old child in a car parked at a courthouse while she ran inside to pay a traffic ticket.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reports a courthouse employee found the child alone in the car Friday in Clearwater and contacted deputies.

Deputies found the car locked and running with its windows rolled up and the air conditioning on. They unlocked the car after reaching through tape covering a missing window.

Deputies charged 28-year-old Antwynett Lane with child neglect after she returned to the car. She told deputies she left the child alone while she paid the ticket because she was running late.

A phone listing couldn’t be found for Lane. Jail records don’t list a lawyer for her.


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Authorities cancel ‘missing child alert’ in search for mother and son

After a statewide search, authorities found Marla D’Andrea and her 7-year-old son on Friday night at the Orlando International Airport. 

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department reported the boy was in danger and The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert about 8:30 p.m. It was canceled about an hour later. 

Authorities reported D’Andrea fled with her son Luke Gjelaj in a gray 2015 Hyundai Accent and drove from Jacksonville Beach to Orlando. 

D’Andrea was in custody late Friday and was held for questioning in the death of a woman at an apartment in Jacksonville Beach.


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