Posts Tagged ‘law practice’


Most people probably can tell you about criminal cases. In a criminal case the people or state, represented by a State’s Attorney, must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” the defendant is guilty of violating the law in which he or she is charged. Many people however get this wrong and confuse “reasonable doubt” and think this means beyond “any doubt”. This can often result in people like Casey Anthony or O.J. Simpson being acquitted when they probably should not have been.

But in civil court, there is only a “preponderance of evidence” burden on the plaintiff. Loosely translated, it means 51%. That is why a guy like Simpson gets acquitted in criminal court but then gets hammered in civil court. Somewhere, whether it’s movies or books, or poor education, the public needs to be educated on the difference between reasonable and 100% certainty. 100% certainty can never be achieved without either a confession or an eyewitness. If that’s what it takes to convict someone then all the police would have to do is ask “did you do this?” and “did anyone see who did?” If the answer to both is “no” then just say “well. Then you have a nice day.” There would be no sense in bringing in detectives or a forensics team because you’ll never get to a “100% certainty.”

It is very fair and just that it takes a lot of proof to send someone to prison. But it is not supposed to be impossible. You want to be as sure as possible if you are taking someone’s freedom away, but 100% is too much.

A civil suit is a different animal. In civil law, nobody is going to prison. This is a suit where somebody is accusing another party of a breach of a contract or of inflicting some kind of damages and the plaintiff wants to be compensated.  Many times the plaintiff can sue for a certain dollar figure and the judge or jury could rule that he was 20% at fault and award him 80%.

Another key difference between criminal and a civil case is that the defendant in a criminal case can sit there and do nothing if that’s what he chooses. The burden of proof is on the state, That is not so in a civil case. If the plaintiff sues you and claims you owe money for non-payment of whatever, you need to prove you do not.  Not showing up to court is a terrible idea. You will lose and lose big.  Even if you think they have you in a vice grip, your lawyer may be able to help you. Don’t just throw your hands up on the air and give up. It could be a costly mistake.



BREVARD – One special needs organization in Brevard County is $190,000 closer to meeting its goals, following an evening full of fun, food and fundraising.

More than 250 guests from throughout the Space Coast attended “An Evening of Hope IV” last month at the Melbourne home of Florida Tech Board of Trustees member, Joe Flammio.

The event, which was in support of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech, brought in nearly $200,000 for the organization through sponsorships, an auction, individual donations and a Rolex watch raffle.

The Rolex, an Oyster Perpetual Explorer II men’s watch, was valued at $6,325 and donated by Kempf’s Jewelers in Indialantic, said Colleen Middlebrooks, outreach coordinator for the center.

Opened in October 2009, the Scott Center provides treatment, education and training for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families from Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

The Center provides two overall types of service: behavioral and psychological, Ms. Middlebrooks said.

Within the behavioral services tab, its staff offers early intensive intervention, social skills, treatment of severe behaviors, toilet training and pediatric feeding, she said.

The psychological services program provides the diagnostics necessary to determine if a child is on the autism spectrum, counseling for family members of those with autism, as well as additional psychologist services.

“The overall goal for the Scott Center is a three-fold mission,” Ms. Middlebrooks said.

The first is to provide individualized service to families; the second is to perform research on what helps children with autism; and the third involves the training of grad students at Florida Tech, as well as parents, teachers and the community.

The funds raised during the recent “Evening of Hope” event will benefit the center’s pediatric feeding program, as well as help offset the operational costs of the Scott Center.

In place for nearly a year, the center’s Pediatric Feeding Clinic focuses on the assessment and treatment of feeding problems that are commonly observed with children with autism, such as food selectivity, food refusal and inappropriate mealtime behaviors, Ms. Middlebrooks said.

Patent attorney Mark Malek of Widerman Malek, PL of Melbourne served as the event committee chairman for the event, while Creative Catering provided the food, Casbah Wines provided the wine, Florida Beer Company donated the beer and Emi Mae’s Cakes and Goodies in Sebastian provided the desserts.

Published in Hometown News on May 11, 2012 by Tammy Roberts, Senior staff writer,