After over three weeks of testimony, it took a Miami-Dade jury only 90 minutes to find former Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones not guilty of one count of bribery, and one count of grand theft.
The State's case was weak from the start, but it was based on the allegation that Spence-Jones leveraged her position as a Miami City Commissioner to obtain a donation from a wealthy developer who had a matter pending before the City Commission.
Rather than simply accept a guilty plea, Spence-Jones and her criminal defense attorney filed a demand for speedy trial, telling the State and the Court that they were eager to fight the charges and wanted to do so quickly.
The case was promptly set for trial, which began with jury selection back in February. Throughout March, the State put on witness after witness, trying desperately to prove that Spence-Jones intended to steal from the developer.
The State's case was torn apart by good lawyering. In the end, the case went to the jury, who rejected the State's theory and found Ms. Spence-Jones not guilty.
You have a constitutional right to a trial by jury. If you are accused of a crime, you do not have to plead guilty and accept a punishment. You have the right to force the State to prove its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Obviously, it was a good decision for Ms. Spence-Jones to go to trial on these charges. Going to trial is a serious decision and should be discussed with your criminal lawyer.
At trial, you face the statutory maximum penalty for the charges. While you may not receive the maximum, you may receive it if the judge feels that such is an appropriate sentence.
The decision to go to trial should be made after reviewing the evidence against you with your criminal defense attorney.
The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm that serves Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.