Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) August 26, 2014
As gangs and gang membership continue to expand throughout communities, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat to get his old job back, vowed last week to implement gang violence legislation to better protect Floridians from violent criminals.
Crist was reminded of the increasing threat that gangs pose when he met Danielle Sampson who suffered severe brain damage from a stray bullet, fired by a reputed gang member two years ago, according to court documents (1).
Danielle, and her mother, Alma Fetcher met behind closed doors with Crist and attorney Dan Newlin at the Law Offices of Dan Newlin in Orlando, to share details of her near-fatal shooting and receive assurances that new legislation targeting violent gangs would be enacted.
Then 15 years old, Danielle was riding in her family's van as they left church when she was struck by a stray bullet fired by Tyrone Mosby, who has since been sentenced to 30 years in prison (1). Mosby, 22, was firing at someone else after burglarizing a home on Orange County’s west side, according to court documents.
Crist reiterated his commitment to the Sampson family to push forward with a new law called Danielle’s Law, that cracks down on gang members. Legislation that would create harsher penalties for gang related crime, called the Danielle Sampson bill, is currently being prepared.
"With gangs responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, we have to do everything we can to stop it," said Crist.
Meanwhile, as one chapter closed for the Sampson family with Mosby's sentencing, another will open in November when the civil trial against Danielle's shooter gets underway.
Just over one year ago, Dan Newlin announced he had filed a lawsuit against Mosby (2) for the "damages and injuries caused by Danielle's wrongful shooting" which occurred on July 29, 2012.
"Prevailing in the civil suit against Mr. Mosby and seeing the enactment of Danielle's Law would be a fitting way for Danielle and her family to get civil justice and some measure of relief," said Dan Newlin.
“And we expect that, implementation of Danielle’s Law will give law enforcement an enhanced ability to crack down on gang offenders and increase penalties for those gang members who terrorize our communities,” Newlin added.
In 2011, in a civil suit brought by Dan Newlin on behalf of the family of Orlando Police Officer Alfred Gordon, an Orange County jury awarded a $24 million dollar verdict to his survivors and estate (3).
According to the 2012 Florida Gang Reduction Annual Report, there were just over 1,600 gangs identified by law enforcement, a 1.6% increase from 2011 and a 15.7% increase since 2010. The Report also states there were nearly 53,000 documented gang members, associates and other pending suspects in 2012.
Dan Newlin, who recently expanded his law practice to Chicago added: “I’m not much of a political man, but I’m honored to be working with Gov. Crist to make our communities and state a safer place to live. Now let’s get working on it.”
1. Case No: 2012-CF-01117-A-O, 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, July 11, 2014
2. Case No: 2013-CA-009-009074-O, 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, July 2, 2013
3. Case No: 08-CA-0002852-ORL (34), 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, March 25, 2011