Nicole and Chad Oulson

Nicole and Chad Oulson

After waiting for more than eight years to get justice for her husband, Nicole Oulson got the terrible news that the man who killed her husband in front of her would walk free.

On Friday, February 25, 2022, a jury of six found Curtis Reeves not guilty of the murder of Chad Oulson.

An Eight-Year Wait For the Wrong Verdict

TJ Grimaldi has been representing Nicole Oulson throughout the eight-year legal battle and says the verdict and the years leading up to the trial are in many ways a failure of justice.

For eight years, after shooting Chad Oulson in a movie theater, 79-year-old Reeves has been able to be home with his family while waiting for his day in court. From the onset, his legal team did everything they could to delay the trial knowing it would keep Reeves out of prison.

“After the horrific day on January 13, 2014 where Curtis Reeves murdered Chad Oulson, Nicole Oulson and the Oulson family were forced to live with delay after delay for over eight years in their attempt to seek justice. To have to suffer like that, knowing that Mr. Reeves was able to be home with his family made the wait that much more difficult,” says Grimaldi.

Now, after a three-week trial, the Oulson family did not get the justice they’ve been patiently waiting for. The jury took approximately 3 ½ hours to decide to acquit Reeves of the two charges against him: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder.

The verdict comes after multiple witnesses took the stand and described the same scene in the movie theater over and over. Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson exchanged heated words. Popcorn flew in the air, but Chad Oulson didn’t appear to try and hit Reeves. Reeves pulled out his firearm and shot Chad Oulson in the chest, killing him and also injuring Nicole Oulson.

Grimaldi says the not guilty verdict adds even more pain to a family who has already gone through years of heartache waiting for the case to go to trial.

“To get slapped in the face with not guilty verdicts is just like getting salt in a wound,” Grimaldi says.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

No Justice for the Oulson Family

“As for the Oulson family, I will always be here to assist them in any way possible as it was my honor to be chosen to help them from the outset,” says Grimaldi.

But at this point, there isn’t much the Oulson family can do. A not guilty verdict removes any chances of a criminal conviction, and civil lawsuits against Curtis Reeves, Cobb Theater, and theater-employee Thomas Peck have already been settled.

Grimaldi believes the verdict sets a dangerous precedent for future cases.

“I worry for the future of our state as it seems as if people can get away with anything, as long as they can afford to pay the price,” he says.

“This case is another stain on the legal process in Florida. Some will try to say this will not set a bad precedent because the facts are unique. To that, I will say that creative lawyers learn how to adapt their facts to fit into certain parts of this case and who knows, one day someone will kill someone else as a result of a pillow fight, and they will be allowed to continue to live a free life,” Grimaldi says.

Grimaldi doesn’t blame the prosecutors for being unable to secure a guilty verdict in the case. Instead, he blames a system that rewards defendants with the resources and connections.

Reeves is a retired Tampa police captain.

“I do believe that the prosecutors did all they could to convict Curtis Reeves as I was familiar with their strategy and was there for this entire trial. But unfortunately, they had to fight an uphill battle at every turn, including the defense being allowed to introduce basically anything they wanted,” says Grimaldi.

Related: Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial Enters Week Three

The Jury Got It Wrong

At the end of a trial, the case is ultimately in the hands of the jury. In this case, Grimaldi feels they simply got it wrong.

“I do not believe the defense or the defendant did anything to advance their position. The jury just plain got it wrong. If I am incorrect and somehow the jury got it right, I fear for our future and the future of our judicial system,” says Grimaldi.

For now, Grimaldi is providing support to the Oulsons during this difficult time. They have waited eight years and been forced to relieve the tragedy over and over in court, only to get no justice for a man who was a friend, husband, and father, senseless shot and killed during the trailers of an afternoon movie date with his wife.

As the trial against Curtis Reeves enters its third week, many witnesses have already taken the stand to share what they saw on the day Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in a Pasco County movie theater.

There is no denying that Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, is the person who shot Oulson in the chest, fatally wounding him and injuring Oulson’s wife who was standing next to him. All witnesses agree on this fact. The differences come in the depiction of what led up to the shooting.

Theater Witnesses Share Their Stories

The prosecution called witnesses to share their experience of the day the shooting occurred, which was more than eight years ago.

In most cases, the witnesses shared the same story. They saw Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson exchange words. They saw Oulson stand up and turn around to face Reeves, who was sitting in the row behind the Oulsons. Then, they heard a loud bang.

Some recalled seeing popcorn fly in the air before the bang. But, witnesses also testified that they didn’t see Oulson raise a fist, throw his phone, or attempt to hit Reeves.

Reeves’ defense team argues that Reeves shot Oulson because he feared for his life. They said Oulson threw his phone at Reeves and appeared ready to hit Reeves. But even as Reeves’ own wife took the stand, she said she didn’t see a punch or a cell phone thrown.

Related: Witnesses Take the Stand in Movie Theater Shooting Case, Including Chad Oulson’s Widow   

Shooter’s Family Takes the Stand

On Monday, February 21, 2022, Curtis Reeves’ wife, Vivian Reeves took the stand to share what she saw while sitting next to her husband in the movie theater that day.

Her story aligns with much of what other witnesses from the theater said. There was an altercation. Oulson stood up, turned around to face Curtis Reeves, and was shot.

Vivian Reeves’ story does include more detail about what she heard from Oulson. She said she heard Oulson use “foul and ugly language” when Curtis Reeves asked him to turn off his phone. The incident began when Curtis Reeves told Oulson to stop using his phone. Oulson was texting his daughter’s child care to check on her as the movie previews played.

Vivian Reeves says she was “terrified” during the encounter, but she says she didn’t see Oulson attempt to punch her husband or throw a phone at him.

Vivian Reeves’ testimony comes after Reeves’ two adult children took the stand last week.

Matthew Reeves, Reeves’ son who is also a police officer, was at the scene moments after his father shot Oulson. He was meeting his parents for the midday movie. He walked in during the middle of the confrontation and heard the gunshot. He testified that he moved to Oulson and immediately began to put pressure on his wound.

Reeves’ daughter, Jennifer Shaw, also took the stand. Shaw wasn’t there on the day of the shooting, but she testified that her father had begun to slow down as he experienced health issues leading up to the shooting. Her testimony seemed to be designed to paint Curtis Reeves as weakening as he aged, although Reeves had been on a hunting trip just days before the shooting.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

Seeking Justice for the Oulson Family

TJ Grimaldi has been standing with Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole, throughout the trial and the last eight years leading up to the state’s prosecution of Curtis Reeves.

He recently spoke with Morning in America about his views on the trial so far and what he hopes to see as a just outcome for the Oulson family.

Grimaldi says that due to Curtis Reeves’ experience as a chief of police, he should have been able to manage the argument with Oulson without it resulting in a shooting.

“He should know how to deescalate a situation instead of making one worse,” Grimaldi says.

Grimaldi is also frustrated the case took so long to make it to trial. “The defense team from day one realized that any time in prison was basically a life sentence or death sentence for this gentleman because of his age. They’ve done everything in their power to delay this case from day one,’ he says.

Now, Grimaldi hopes and believes the jury will get the verdict right. In fact, he thinks the jury must get it right, not just for the Oulson family but for society as a whole.

When considering if the case could end in a not guilty verdict, Grimaldi said, “They have to make sure they get this right. It could set some very terrible precedent.”

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

What’s Next for the Reeves Case?

The trial of Curtis Reeves is expected to last another week. It is unclear at this time if Reeves will take the stand. Reeves is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. If he is found guilty on both charges, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.

If you or someone you know is involved in a legal matter, contact the offices of TJ Grimaldi. Talk directly with TJ about how he and his team can help you get the justice you deserve. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

Eight years after Nicole Oulson watched her husband get shot and killed during the previews of a mid-day movie date, she was finally able to take the stand and share her story in court.

Testimony finally started in the Curtis Reeves movie theater “stand your ground” case.

Curtis Reeves is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. On January 13, 2014, Reeves fired one shot in a movie theater that wounded Nicole Oulson and killed her husband, Chad Oulson.

The theater was filled with witnesses who have started to take the stand in a trial that took eight long years to make it to court. The first witness was Chad’s wife, who was sitting next to her husband the day he lost his life.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

Nicole Oulson Takes the Stand

Nicole Oulson waited eight long years to share her story of what happened on that terrible January afternoon. While the state is prosecuting the criminal case against Curtis Reeves, attorney TJ Grimaldi has been by the side of Nicole Oulson throughout the years, helping her prepare for her long-awaited day in court.

“While going through a trial forces her to relive this situation, that she would rather forget, she can’t wait for the day that justice is served, Curtis Reeves is found guilty and spends the rest of his natural life in prison paying for his crimes,” Grimaldi said.

On day five of the trial, Nicole Oulson took the stand for several hours sharing details of what she experienced on January 13, 2014. Nicole Oulson was sitting next to her husband Chad Oulson and witnessed the entire incident. She was also shot by Curtis Reeves.

In the moment before the shot, Chad stood up to exchange words with Reeves. Nicole also stood up and put her left hand on her husband’s chest to guide him to sit back down. At that moment, Reeves fired the gun. The bullet went through part of Nicole Oulson’s hand before hitting her husband in the chest and fatally wounding him.

“It felt like my hand was on fire. It felt like my hand was blown off,” Nicole Oulson said during her testimony. “He took a couple of steps and then collapsed. I knew he was way worse than me.”

While on the stand, Nicole also described the events that led up to the shooting and testified that she didn’t agree with many of the defense’s opening statements about the incident.

The defense stated that Chad Oulson was loud and cursing. Nicole said the characterization wasn’t true. The defense said that Chad Oulson stepped over the seat to get closer to Reeves who was sitting behind them. Nicole also said the statement was untrue. She said Chad Oulson only stood a few moments before being shot.

While on the stand, Nicole described Reeves as rude in the moments leading up to the shooting. Reeves is said to have started interacting with Nicole and Chad Oulson while Chad was using his phone to text their child’s babysitter during the previews of the movie. Reeves went to complain to theater management before coming back and shooting Oulson after the two exchanged words.

Nicole Oulson said, “It was rude. It was demanding. It was like an order. No excuse me, or would you mind? It was just matter of fact, you need to do this.”

On the day Nicole Oulson testified, TJ Grimaldi described the day in court, “an intense day for sure.”

“Nicole is doing a great job walking the jury through this painful day. It is a slow moving process but so far I believe the state is doing a great job,” he said.

Related: Jury Selection Finally Begins in Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial

What’s Next In the Reeves’ Trial?

The sixth day of the trial started with testimony from a man who was in the theater in the same row as Nicole and Chad Oulson. He testified that he witnessed much of the commotion that happened both before and after the shooting, and agreed with many of Nicole Outson’s characterizations of the events. He is just one of the people expected to testify about what they saw in the theater that day.

Testimony will continue over the next week and possibly continue into the next week. Dozens of witnesses have been listed for trial, but it is unclear how many more people will take the stand.

The trial is scheduled to last for another two weeks.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

Seeking Justice for Chad Oulson

If convicted, Reeves faces life in prison.

TJ Grimaldi is proud to stand by Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole throughout this lengthy legal battle and looks forward to finally seeing justice served.

To see how TJ Grimaldi could help represent you in court, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation to talk directly to TJ. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

More than eight years after a trip to the movie theater led to the death of Chad Oulson, the man who shot and killed Oulson is finally going to see his day in court.

Jury selection has finally begun in the Curtis Reeves case.

What Led to the Trial?

On January 13, 2014, Chad Oulson and his wife, Nicole went to a movie at Grove 16 theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Behind them sat retired Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves and his wife, Vivian.

During the previews, Chad Oulson used his phone to text his daughter’s daycare. This activity annoyed Curtis Reeves, who went to complain to theater staff. Upon his return to the theater, Reeves and Oulson exchanged words. Oulson threw popcorn on Reeves. Reeves pulled out a gun and fired a shot that wounded Nicole Oulson and killed Chad Oulson.

For eight years, Reeves has avoided going to trial for the shooting.

Reeves and his legal team tried to dismiss the case, arguing that it fell under Florida’s stand your ground law. The motion was denied, but it led to appeals, which pushed the case to the  2nd District Court of Appeal. Changing laws caused the case to be delayed further as legal teams waited for a Florida Supreme Court decision regarding rules on burden of proof in stand your ground cases.

All efforts to dismiss the case were denied, and the case is now ready to go to trial — but it took eight years which can lead to some challenges.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

The Challenge with Jury Selection

In the eight years since Reeves shot and killed Oulson in a Florida movie theater, it’s been difficult to avoid the story in the news. The many appeals, controversial nature of the case, and long timeline have made it a top news story, even gaining national media attention.

The public exposure can make jury selection in the case difficult.

For the case, 250 East Pasco residents were summoned for jury duty. They will be broken into groups of 50 who will be seen over five days of jury selection.

The first day of jury selection, which took place on February 7, 2022, was an indicator that finding an impartial jury could be difficult. When asked if they knew about the case, most jurors raised their hand, according to reporting by the Tampa Bay Times.

During questioning of the first ten jurors, one said, ”I just feel like he shot a guy, and if you kill someone, that’s murder. He’s already guilty.” The juror was dismissed.

Eight of the next nine jurors gave answers that were similar. When jurors are familiar with a case before the trial begins, the judge must question them to determine if they are unbiased and able to serve on the jury.

From the 250 potential jurors, the case will need six jurors who the court believes can hear the case and make a fair judgment based on what they hear in court, not what they hear in the news.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

What’s at Stake?

When the six jurors are selected, they will sit for a trial which is expected to take three weeks.

They will decide if Reeves is guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder.

If found guilty, the 79-year-old Reeves faces life in prison.

Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon is a third-degree felony in Florida. It carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison or five years probation and a $5,000 fine. When a firearm is discharged, as it was in this case, the penalties can increase to up to 20 years in prison.

Second-degree murder is a first-degree felony in Florida. It carries a potential penalty of life in prison, life on probation, and a $10,000 fine. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, a person may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison if a firearm is used to commit second-degree murder.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

Pushing for a Fair Trial and Justice

TJ Grimaldi is standing by the side of Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole to see that the trial is fair and leads to the maximum punishment for Reeves.

While the state is prosecuting the criminal case, Grimaldi is representing Nicole Oulson to ensure that justice is found for her husband and the father of her daughter.

“Curtis Reeves should have de-escalated the situation. But instead, all he did was make things worse, and continue to make things worse, even after leaving the theater and coming back when it was basically done and decided to shoot someone over popcorn,” Grimaldi says.

Protect Yourself in a Public Case

Cases that take place in the courtroom and the court of public opinion come with unique challenges. If you are involved with a case that has drawn public interest, work with an attorney who has experience with high-profile cases and knows how to manage the media and legal process through your public case.

Talk to TJ Grimaldi to see how he can use his experience to protect you during a high-profile legal case. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

January 26, 2020, was a tragic day for the Bryant family. A helicopter accident took the life of famed basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others.

As if the day wasn’t difficult enough for Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, she had to learn about the possible death of her family members through social media.

Now, Vanessa Bryant is in a legal fight to hold accountable the people who leaked the details — and photos — of the terrible accident. Will Vanessa Bryant be able to get justice for herself and her loved ones?

The Tragic Accident

January 26, 2020, was a fairly normal Sunday for the Bryant family. They were used to taking helicopters to travel over the congested roadways near their home in Orange County, California. Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant boarded the helicopter with six other passengers and a pilot who the Bryants had flown with regularly.

The passengers, which included two of Gianna’s Bryant’s teammates and their parents, were on their way to a basketball game, but they wouldn’t make it. The helicopter crashed into a hillside, and everyone on the plane was killed.

According to Vanessa Bryant, she learned about the accident from the family’s assistant who came to the residence to tell her. The assistant told Vanessa Bryant there had been an accident, there were believed to be five survivors, and she didn’t know if the survivors included Kobe and Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant said the first indication she got that Kobe and Gianna didn’t make it was via social media. She says her phone was lighting up with “R.I.P. Kobe” messages.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

How Did the Story (and Photos) Get Leaked?

Vanessa Bryant says Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies took and shared unauthorized photos of the crash shortly after it happened.

In a lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant alleges, “No fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.”

The lawsuit also alleges that other law enforcement officials not involved with the case also shared photos of the accident. In one situation, the photos were said to be shared in a bar. In another situation, the photos were shown at an awards gala.

A filing from Vanessa’s Byant’s legal team says, “Discovery has shown that the close-up photos of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least twenty-eight Sheriff’s Department devices and by at least a dozen firefighters.”

Not only does the lawsuit allege that photos were leaked and shown to the public, but it also accuses the Defendants of covering up their activity.

“It has also shown that Defendants engaged in a cover up, destroying the direct forensic evidence of their misconduct and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of that misconduct,” says the filing.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

The Lawsuit and Upcoming Trial

In September 2020, Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Alex Villanueva in federal court. The lawsuit claims civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress, and violation of privacy.

In March 2021, Vanessa Bryant opened up the lawsuit to include four men who are accused of sharing photos from the scene: Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell, and Raul Versales.

The case is set to go before a jury on February 22, 2022. According to reports by CNN, Vanessa Bryant’s legal team plans to call at least 12 witnesses, and up to 28 people may be called to testify.

The civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including punitive damages. For the Bryants, the case is more about preventing the sharing of horrific personal details in the future.

“This [filing] solely is about enforcing accountability, protecting the victims and making sure no one ever has to deal with this conduct in the future,” a Bryant family spokesperson told People. “When a family suffers the loss of loved ones, they have the right to expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect.”

In addition to the lawsuit, a new California state law may help prevent this type of situation from happening again.

Just nine months after the tragic accident, California ratified a law that makes it illegal for first responders to take unauthorized pictures of people killed at the scene of an accident or crime.

The upcoming case has nothing to do with when Vanessa Bryant sued for wrongful death. The lawsuit filed against the companies that owned and operated the helicopter, as well as the estate of the late helicopter pilot, was settled in June 2021. Details of the settlement were not released.

Protect Your Rights

All people, even public figures, have rights that need to be protected.

If you feel your rights or the rights of a loved one have been violated, you deserve justice. Talk to an attorney who will fight for you to protect your legal rights. If you have a personal injury or civil case to discuss, contact TJ Grimaldi to see if he can help you get justice for you or your loved one. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023.

Fracisco Galvan was in the line of fire when two men started shooting at his car. The shots hit him and his two passengers, fatally wounding one of them. Galvan lived through the experience but now, he faces murder charges for the passenger who was killed by the shots.

How did Galvan go from being at risk of being murdered to being charged with third degree murder?

Shots Fired

On January 7, 2022, Fracisco Galvan, 20, got in his car with two others and drove to an apartment complex in Temple Terrace to sell marijuana to an interested buyer. But, the transaction never occurred.

When Galvan’s car pulled up to the apartment, the would-be buyers started shooting at it. The shots hit Galvan and his two passengers. Galvan drove the three injured men to Tampa General Hospital, but it was too late for 18-year-old Ismael Reyers-Barajas. He died from his injuries that day, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

While it is unclear if the person or persons who shot Reyers-Barajas and his passengers have been charged, someone is facing criminal charges in the case — Galvan.

In an unusual turn of events, Galvan is now facing a third-degree murder charge for Reyers-Barajas’ death.

Prosecutors say that because the shooting happened during an attempted drug deal orchestrated by Galvan, Galvan is partially to blame for Reyers-Barajas death.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

What Is Third Degree Murder?

Florida is only one of three states that has third-degree murder laws. Pennsylvania and Minnesota are the other two states.

In Florida, third degree murder is outlined under Florida Statutes Section 782.04. It is described as the unintentional killing of a person while committing or attempting a non-violent felony.

The penalty is up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Galvin’s arrest report states the shooting was, “committed during the commission of a felony that (Galvan) was involved in.” Because Reyers-Barajas was killed while Galvan was committing a crime, prosecutors say Galvan is in some way responsible for the death.

Third degree murder does not require intent the way that first and second degree murder charges do. In most cases, a death caused by the unintentional act of another person is considered a manslaughter charge, but not in this case.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Third Degree Murder vs. Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

When a death is caused by neglect rather than malicious intent, it is often considered a manslaughter charge, not a murder charge.

Manslaughter is defined under Florida Statutes Section 782.07. It refers to situations where:

  • Someone intentionally completed an act that led to the death of another person.
  • Someone persuaded or encouraged another person to complete an act that led to that person’s death.
  • Someone was culpably negligent which led to the death of another person.

Manslaughter charges typically apply to situations where someone caused another person’s death but they had no prior intent on killing the other person.

In this case, it appears that Galvin had no intent to kill Reyers-Barajas. But because Glavin was engaging in criminal behavior during Reyers-Barajas’ death, he may face the more serious charge of third degree murder.

If convicted, the third degree murder charge will hold more weight on Galvin’s record. But, the potential sentencing for both third degree murder and manslaughter are the same.

They both hold the potential for 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

The Importance of Working with a Top Criminal Defense Attorney

Multiple crimes were in motion on January 7, 2022. Galvan was planning to commit the crime of selling illegal drugs, but instead, he now faces charges for a much more serious crime — a shooting he did not commit but may be responsible for.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing minor or serious criminal charges, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Both misdemeanors and felonies have the potential to change your life and lead to fines, probation, and jail time.

Do not face a criminal charge on your own. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you get the best possible outcome for your situation. If you are facing criminal charges, contact TJ Grimaldi today to see how our team can help you navigate your situation and get the most just outcome. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023.

Eight years after Curtis Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in front of multiple witnesses in a Florida movie theater, the case is finally going to trial. After years of delays, Oulson‘s family will finally get their day in court, and TJ Grimaldi is determined to help them seek justice.

What Happened in the Florida Movie Theater?

In 2014, Chad Oulson and his wife Nicole didn’t expect their lives to change when they went to a Pasco County movie theater for an afternoon date away from their young daughter. They thought they were going to a movie, but they didn’t even see the start of the show.

During the previews, Chad Oulson checked his phone to see if he had any messages from the daycare that was watching his daughter, who was 22-months-old at the time. She had been teething, and he wanted to make sure everything was okay. Oulson’s activity angered Reeves who was sitting behind Oulson.

Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, started an altercation with Oulson, pulled out his gun, and fired one shot, killing Oulson in front of his wife and a movie theater filled with eye witnesses. Nicole was also injured during the incident.

Eight Long Years Later

Over eight years, Reeve’s legal team has used tactic after tactic to delay the case making it to trial.

Dragging out the case has been a major delay of justice for Oulson‘s family who have been waiting for the trial to begin. In that time, Reeves has been able to avoid jail time and instead, spend time at home with his family.

Reeves’ legal team spent years arguing that the case fell under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Changes to the law led to multiple hearings and eventually, a Florida Supreme Court decision. But, after Reeve’s team lost their case, the trial for the shooting was finally scheduled for February 2022.

Now, it finally looks like the trial is finally going to happen. On Thursday, January 13th, a judge moved the case forward with plans to start the trial on February 7th.

TJ Grimaldi has represented Oulson‘s widow, Nicole, since Chad’s death in 2014, and he sees the trial as long overdue.

“During the past eight years, Ms. Oulson has had to learn how to be a single mother and mourn the death of her husband, all while Curtis Reeves was unnecessarily delaying the defense of his case while still being able to be at home and spend time with his family. Hopefully, we are that much closer to finally seeing this murderer behind bars,” says Grimaldi.

Related: 7 Years Later, Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case Still Waiting for Trial   

Getting Justice for Chad Oulson

During a status check that took place on Thursday, the judge on the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Susan Barthle, seemed eager to bring the case to trial.

Barthle set actions to keep the trial on track to start on February 7th. She scheduled hearings to resolve 19 outstanding motions, leaving just one motion to be discussed at a later date.

The judge also set parameters for the jury. Two hundred and fifty East Pasco residents will be summoned. Barthle is also planning to avoid delays caused by a rise in COVID-19 cases. The judge plans to have four alternatives for the jury to ensure the case can move forward without delays.

As the case moves closer to trial, Grimaldi will be working closely with the Oulson family to ensure that justice is found for Chad.

“I hope this time is different. The defense does everything they can to cause delay after delay. They know that each day the case isn’t tried and that Reeves is out of jail is a win for them,” says Grimaldi.

“It has been a long time coming to try and get justice for the murder of Chad Oulson and the significant injury to Nicole Oulson,” says Grimaldi. “But we think it’s finally time.”

May 23, 2018 was a truly awful day for two families. A family lost a young mother and her toddler who died after being struck by a car on Bayshore Boulevard. Another family figuratively lost their son after he hit and killed the woman and her daughter.

Cameron Herrin, the 18-year-old speeding driver who struck and killed Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt and her 1-year-old daughter, was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges.

Now, more than three years later, Herrin’s family is trying to get some of their life back with their son. Is it fair? And, is it possible?

The Accident

On a spring day, Reisinger-Raubenolt took her daughter for a walk on Bayshore Boulevard. They two were in town visiting family.

Around the same time, Herrin and his friend, 17-year-old John Barineau, were on their way to a local gym. Herrin had just graduated from Tampa Catholic High School two days earlier and was driving a new Ford Mustang, his graduation gift. Barineau was driving near him in his Nissan Altima. The two decided to race.

Traveling north from Gandy Boulevard up Bayshore Boulevard toward downtown, the two cars raced, moving in and out of traffic lanes to pass cars, according to witnesses. The Mustang’s Infotainment system would later show that the car reached 102 mph.

As the cars approached Reisinger-Raubenolt and her daughter, witnesses say the Nissan swerved to miss them. The Mustang moved to avoid the Nissan and hit the mother and daughter.

While the Mustang slowed down to about 30 and 40 mph just before the collision, it struck Reisinger-Raubenolt and her daughter. The mother died on impact, and the toddler died the next day from her injuries.

Related: 5 Reasons to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After a Crash 

The Sentencing

Barineau and Herrin were facing a trial when both decided to plead guilty to the charges against them.

Barineau, the driver of the Nissan, worked with the state on a plea deal. He pled guilty to two vehicular homicide charges and a misdemeanor racing charge in exchange for a six-year sentence with 15 years of probation.

Herrin, the driver responsible for striking and killing the mother and daughter, also pled guilty to two vehicular homicide charges and a misdemeanor racing charge. But, he agreed to an open plea, which put his sentencing in the judge’s hand.

State guidelines suggest a minimum of 18-and-a-half years for the charges against Herrin. The family of the victims asked for the maximum 30-year sentence.

Herrin was sentenced to 24 years, nine years for the mother’s death and 15 for the child’s death to be served consecutively.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Nash made the decision after a day of testimony from both Herrin’s and Reisinger-Raubenolt’s family and friends.

Herrin’s defense team argued that Herrin should receive a sentence similar to Barineau, who they believe was equally culpable for the accident. But, the judge gave extra weight to Herrin’s sentencing due to the fact that Herrin was the one who hit the victims and that Herrin had a history of speeding and racing.

Herrin’s car navigation system has recently recorded a speed of 162 mph on Interstate 75 and a speed of 84 mph on Bayshore in the weeks leading up to the accident, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Related: What You Should Expect from Your Attorney in Every Case

The Appeal

Herrin’s defense team was quick to start the appeal process. They believe Herrin was unfairly sentenced and are taking up a legal challenge. In December, Herrin’s legal team completed the full briefing process, and both the state and the defense have now submitted written arguments to the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

The appeal process begins in the wake of a large and somewhat unusual internet campaign to support Herrin. Content promoting “justice for Cameron” has been seen across Twitter and TikTok. TikTok videos featuring the tag “Cameron Herrin” have been viewed over 2.4 billion times.

Experts believe some of the support is from real people across the world. Herrin’s mother says she receives calls and letters from supporters. But, experts also believe that some of the social media content is produced by international bots, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Herrin’s family and defense team say they have no connection with the outpouring of social media content. But, they are still fighting to get their version of justice for Herrin. Their appeal brief states, “Certainly Cameron deserves to be punished for his role in this horrible case. But what purpose is served by imprisoning this young man for the next twenty-plus years of his life?”

The state plans to fight against a sentence reduction. They believe the sentence is fair for the crime.

In the upcoming months, a three-judge panel will meet to decide whether or not the judge abused his discretion and if there is a legal basis for a trial court to redo Herrin’s sentence. Herrin’s fate will be in their hands.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

Get Support & Advice For Your Legal Case

In cases like this, there are no winners. A terrible accident devastated two families, and the courts are left to determine which is the best way to provide justice.

If you’ve been involved in a legal matter, you deserve justice and fair representation throughout the court process. Don’t delay if a legal matter is pending in your life. Talk to an attorney right away who can guide you through the process. TJ Grimaldi is here to help. See how he can support your case today. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023.

Back when Elizabeth Holmes was featured on the cover of Time magazine, her company Theranos was valued at around $9 billion. This week, Holmes was found guilty in four of eleven federal criminal fraud charges.

What led to the downfall of Holmes and her company? Was she a founder who made mistakes, or did she intentionally deceive investors and patients? And now that she has been found guilty, will she face any meaningful consequences?

The Theranos Scandal

In March 2004, when Holmes was just 19 years old, she launched her company, Theranos. Like a few other famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, she dropped out of prestigious school, leaving Sandford to build her business.

Theranos was promised to be a company that could offer a variety of medical testing through a small amount of blood work. The promise of the company had investors and partners interested. Holmes raised over $945 million. After a 2013 retail partnership announcement with Walgreens, the company was valued at around $9 billion.

On paper, Holmes was one of the richest women in the world. Then, reality hit.

In 2015, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Theranos had not actually conducted the hundreds of blood tests it claimed to offer. Some of the tests were less accurate than presented, and other tests were conducted on devices from third-party blood testing companies.

This story started a series of issues that eventually led to civil charges in March 2018.

The First Round of Legal Trouble: Civil SEC Charges

In March 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced fraud charges against Holmes, the company Theranos, and Theranos COO and president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

According to an SEC press release, Holmes and Balwani raised, “more than $700 million from investors through an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”

Holmes and Theranos did not admit to or deny the charges, but they settled with the SEC. Holmes was required to return millions of shares to the privately held company, pay a $500,000 fine, and not serve as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years, as reported by Reuters.

The civil charges were a blow to Holmes, but they weren’t as serious as the fraud charges that came just a few months later.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

The Second Round of Legal Trouble: Criminal Fraud Charges

In June 2018, Holmes and Balwani were indicted on federal wire fraud charges by the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California.

The charges alleged that Holmes and Balwani both knew the Theranos proprietary blood analyzer could only perform 12 of the 200 tests it said it could, yet they continued to make misleading claims to both investors and customers.

The criminal charges meant Holmes was now facing jail time.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

Facing the Charges

It took almost three years for Holmes’s case to make it to trial. It began in August 2021, included 30 witness testimonies, and lasted 11 weeks. Holmes testified over seven days of the trial trying to show that she never intentionally defrauded investors or patients.

The jury was slow to decide Holmes’s fate. As we recently discussed in a blog relating to the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, jury deliberations can take time.

After 50 hours, the jury eventually found Holmes guilty on four of the eleven charges.

  • 4 Charges — Not Guilty: There were four not guilty verdicts related to three charges concerning defrauding patients and one charge of conspiracy to defraud patients.
  • 3 Charges — No Verdicts: There was no verdict on three charges related to defrauding patients. The judge expects to declare a mistrial on those charges, according to reports from CNN. The jury could not come to a unanimous decision on these charges.
  • 4 Charges — Guilty: Holmes was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud relating to investors and one count of conspiracy to defraud investors. Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution for each count.

Facing the (Minimal) Consequences

Many people were hurt by the unscrupulous acts of Holmes and Balwani. Investors lost millions of dollars, but Holmes’s conviction does not resolve their loss. She was only found guilty on four of the eleven charges.

Even after losing billions of dollars for investors, Holmes may only spend a few years in prison.

According to estimates by prison consultants and legal experts, even though Holmes faces decades in prison, she may only serve as little as three years at a low-security prison facility.

Facing Criminal or Civil Charges? Talk to an Attorney Right Away.

Facing criminal or civil charges is a serious matter. Civil charges can lead to financial judgments and fines, and criminal charges can lead to probation, fines, and jail time. Both can uproot your life. If you find yourself facing either civil or criminal charges, it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney right away.

TJ Grimaldi is both a criminal defense attorney and civil attorney. If you are facing a legal case, he can help you create a plan to get the best possible outcome for your situation. Talk to him today by requesting your consultation or calling 813-226-1023 to schedule a time to talk directly with TJ.

When a trial ends, people are eager for a conclusion. They want to hear the verdict as soon as possible. But sometimes, the verdict can take hours or even days. We saw an example of this in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

On December 29, 2021, the jury in Maxwell’s case entered their sixth day of jury deliberations.

What’s going on during jury deliberations — and why can it take so long?

The Details of the Ghislaine Maxwell Case

Maxwell is the former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein. She was on trial facing six federal counts which include: sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three related counts of conspiracy, as reported by CNN.

This trial was a high-stakes case. Not only was it a high-profile case, which can add pressure to the jury, but it could also lead to long-term jail time. If Maxwell was convicted on all six charges, she could face up to 70 years in prison.

It took the jury six days of deliberations to reach their verdict.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

What Happens in Jury Deliberations?

Jury deliberations begin after the closing arguments of a trial. The judge gives detailed instructions about the process to the jury and lays out the legal standards that must be met for the defendant to be found guilty. From there, the jury goes to a room alone to discuss their decision for the verdict.

In most states, a foreperson or presiding juror is assigned to the group. The foreperson is responsible for managing the process, making sure everyone on the jury gets to participate, and leading the discussion in an orderly fashion.

Often, the jury begins with an initial vote. Each person says if they are leaning toward guilty or not guilty on each count. This process gives the jury an idea of where they stand.

Next, the jury reviews the evidence and how it relates to the specifics of the law. They are looking to see if prosecutors successfully met the burden of proof in the case. The jury must be certain that the proof shows the defendant is guilty without reasonable doubt.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

How Does a Jury Deliberation End?

Even if the jury initially agrees on a verdict, they will typically go through the evidence and each count to confirm that their verdict is accurate.

If the jury is in disagreement, they must go through the evidence and each count together to come to an agreement on a verdict. In most states, for jury deliberations to end in a criminal case, there must be a unanimous agreement on each charge. Every juror must agree on the verdict for each charge.

Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

What Holds Up Deliberations?

Jury deliberations can get held up when jurors can’t agree on a verdict or they have additional questions and concerns about the case.

During deliberations, the jury is permitted to ask for additional information, explanations, and documents and transcripts from the trial. They may also ask for more detailed legal instructions on how the deliberation process works. Any communication between the judge and the jury is shared with attorneys on both sides, and jury members are also not allowed to access outside information.

In Maxwell’s case, the jury asked for a legal definition of “enticement.” They also asked to review the testimony of four women who took the stand during the trial and transcripts from four other witnesses.

It appears that the jury was looking more closely at the evidence as they sought to find a verdict they could all agree on.

What If the Jury Can’t Agree?

If the jury can’t reach a decision in one day, they may be sequestered. In this case, they cannot go back to their homes as they may be influenced by the media or other people. The jury typically stays in a hotel so they cannot use the internet or talk about the case with people outside of the jury.

In Maxwell’s case, the jury was not sequestered. They were allowed to go home, and they were given extra days between deliberations due to the Christmas holiday.

If a jury cannot come to a unanimous decision, it is called a “hung jury.” There is a mistrial, and the case must be conducted again in front of a new jury. In the event of a hung jury, the government may decide not to retry the case, and the defendant can walk free.

On Tuesday, December 28, the jury sent a note to the judge saying, “Our deliberations are moving along, and we are making progress.” On Wednesday, December 29, the jury came forward with their decision.

Maxwell was found guilty on five of the six charges, and she now faces up to 65 years in prison.

Get Strong Counsel for a Criminal Trial

A criminal trial can be a stressful situation from the opening statement to the hours or days waiting for a verdict. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side to lead you through the process and to the best possible outcome.

If you are in need of legal advice, contact the office of TJ Grimaldi today. Talk directly with TJ about your case. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today