Anthony Laurenceau, a 19 year old from Miramar, Florida, was arrested recently for the stabbing death of Wagner Luvin, age 23. It is unclear whether or not Laurenceau has been before a judge or whether or not bond has been set.
Given the severity of the crime, prosecutors may seek a very high bond. However, if the family were to hire a defense lawyer, a motion to reduce bond, even from its standard amount, could be made.
As has been discussed many times on this blog, when a judge is setting bond, he or she will always consider the same primary factors. First is the nature of the crime. Crimes of violence always considered serious and usually result in higher bond amounts. Second, the judge will consider Laurenceau’s criminal history, if he has any. The more serious his criminal history is, especially for violent crimes, the higher bond will be.
Third, the judge will also consider if Laurenceau is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Establishing how long he has lived in the county and whether he has any family members, a job, or property here in the county are factors that the judge may rely upon when reducing bond. Obviously, the greater Laurenceau’s ties to the community, the lesser the likelihood that he will flee.
Finally, the last factor to be considered by the judge will be Laurenceau’s ability to pay his bond. The severity of a bond is always relative to the person’s ability to post it. A $50,000 bond for a poor unemployed person is tantamount to no bond at all. Whereas a $50,000 bond for a wealthy businessman may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience resolved by the swipe of a credit card.
Assuming Laurenceau has meager financial resources, as most 19 year olds do, he may qualify for a bond reduction based on his inability to pay. Again, everything is relative. Since the purpose of bond is to ensure Laurenceau’s future appearance in court, the numerical value of that bond is relative to Laurenceau’s financial means.
However, bond is not Laurenceau’s main problem. He is now facing a second degree murder charge that could send him to prison for many years. However, before any conclusions may be drawn, it will be necessary to conduct a full case analysis.
I am most concerned by the conclusion that Laurenceau acted illegally. What is the proof that he did not act in self-defense? Who started the fight? Was Laurenceau the aggressor or the defender?
If Laurenceau did have the right to act in self-defense, were his actions proportionate to the threat? Did Laurenceau leave the fight and then return with a knife? If not, who did the knife belong to? Just because Luvin is the one who got stabbed, does not mean it was Laurenceau that pulled the knife. It is equally possible that Luvin pulled the knife, but ended up getting stabbed during a scuffle that ensued.
These and other questions must be answered by defense lawyers before any decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain can be made. Moreover, a thorough investigation into Luvin’s background will also be necessary.
Did Laurenceau attack Luvin as an act of pro-active self-defense? In other words, were his actions prompted by a reputation of violence had by Luvin? If so, Laurenceau’s actions may have been justified.
If there is one lesson to be learned here, conclusions can never be drawn simply because and arrest has been made.
Hopefully justice will prevail in the end and the truth about this fight will be clarified.