The only murder of an officer in the line of duty in the history of the Pompano Beach Police Department took place 22 years ago. The accused was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Twice.
Now the accused may be headed for a third trial in the July 1990 murder of Officer Scott Winters.
A federal judge in Miami recently overturned his conviction after ruling that Broward Circuit Judge Charles Greene was wrong to deny the accused the right to represent himself at his second trial in 1996.
A person may represent themself if the court makes the appropriate findings.
Getting a new trial can be a remedy ordered by a higher court. At the trial level, it's important for a criminal defense attorney to carefully guard the record. That is - make appropriate and timely objections so that any errors committed by the trial court can be properly addressed later.
A good trial lawyer should always try to prevail at trial, but nevertheless, preserving your right to appeal is equally as important.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.