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Every single military client sent for brain imaging as part of their defense strategy since 2005 has shown brain abnormalities. As a specialist in criminal law, I trained to fight cases the traditional way. Aggressive pleadings. Attacks on the evidence to make it inadmissible. Advanced motion practice beyond what uncertified lawyers can offer. Actual trial experience instead of just “handling” cases. Long, painful jury trials that make the prosecutor think twice before offering a harsh, over-punishing sentence.
This was how I made my name. This is how I became the only criminal law specialist in Okaloosa County: fighting cases like Grandpa’s law firm from 1985.
The problem is, it isn’t 1985. Yet most of my colleagues in the field of criminal law still practice as if time has stopped.
Fortunately, the last 30+ years have been very educational from scientific perspective. SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) brain imaging has completely transformed criminal law. Nowhere has this been more helpful than in the case of military, active-duty service personnel and our veterans. What used to be dismissed as bad character has been proven to be a series of brain abnormalities, injuries, and damage – often related to deployment overseas.
Don’t you often wonder why somebody gets multiple DUIs? Don’t you wonder why someone would find a child sexually appealing? We all know that battering a spouse with in the privacy of our home is morally wrong, yet it happens by people who you would think would know better.
Within the field of criminal law, all lawyers know the questions are the real answer. This is why we have three years of specialized training in order to get our jurist doctorate. Once we have obtained our doctorate, our real learning has just started: law school does not teach you the answers. Law school teaches how to ask the right questions. As a Florida bar, board-certified specialist in criminal trial law, I have asked myself for many years the same question: why do people do these things?
The answer is so stunning it actually shakes the foundational paradigm of crime and punishment that underpins our criminal justice system. Every single person I have ever sent for a brain imaging study who is guilty of a crime has come back with an abnormal brain scan. Every. Single. One.
Crime, it turns out, is actually a form of brain abnormality. People with normal brain scans do not commit crime. People with abnormal brain scans are not automatically criminal, however every single criminal that I have had brain image came back and abnormal brain scan. Most of these abnormal brain scans are truly horrifying. The worst brain scans I have seen happened to be those of our wounded warriors. They have been exposed to toxic substances, impact traumas, and psychological traumas that are so horrifying, the veterans in question are often reluctant to even speak of them.
The good news is that with the right diagnostic protocol and treatment, most can restored to health. Where DUI schools fail, the proper diagnostic and treatment protocol succeeds. We’re batterer’s intervention program fails, amazing results can be produced by using the exact right treatment for that particular patient defendant.
The bad news is that we still live in a political culture where the mantra of “lock them up and throw away the key “still exists. It’s a great strategy for winning reelection in scoring political points, but for the taxpayers it is the practical equivalent of setting tax dollars on fire. Each day someone spends in a state prison cost the state tax payers almost $50 per day per person. Each day someone spends in jail cause the local tax payers on the county level even more.
There is a smarter approach: Crime and Treatment. I use this approach frequently in order to help our military members and veterans as well as people from every walk of life. If you or someone you love has problematic behavior that has resulted in an arrest and criminal charges, please contact me. I have done more SPECT brain imaging cases than any lawyer on the planet within the field of criminal defense. Yes, I can still inflict a painful five day jury trial upon the prosecution and get an acquittal. But there are some cases where an acquittal just isn’t possible. Rather than sending people to jail without treatment, or locking them up for long periods of time in state prisons, there is a better way under Florida law to solve the problem of crime one patient defendant at a time.