Dismissal of charges in criminal defense case
There are many tiers to the justice system in the United States. The system is designed not only to hold someone accountable for a crime, but to make sure that the person charged with the crime is guilty. A variety of rules and regulations are used within the court room to help better ensure that a person is not wrongly convicted of a crime.
A recent case out of California provides an example of how the rights of an individual charged with a crime can be violated. The case began when a man was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint. At the checkpoint, officers discovered a large amount of marijuana stored within the vehicle. The driver argued that he was unaware of the presence of marijuana within his vehicle and instead believed he was transporting a load of Clorox. He stated that he took a job to drop of the Clorox in Nevada and return to California to pick up a second load, which would also be delivered to Nevada. He stated that the job he was hired to complete was estimated to take three to four days.
Prosecutors were attempting to establish that the driver was aware that he was transporting an illegal drug. During the prosecution’s closing argument, a new piece of evidence was presented when the prosecution mentioned that the driver had no luggage with him when he was apprehended. They argued that because he did not have luggage his story about conducting a three to four day trip was faulty. This argument was likely made in an attempt to raise questions about the truthfulness of the man’s entire statement. Ultimately, the man was convicted of the crime.
Unfortunately for prosecutors, the information presented in the closing argument about a lack of luggage was not brought up earlier in the case. Presenting new evidence in the closing arguments is against the rules of evidence, or rules that attorneys must follow when presenting a case in court. These rules are designed to help ensure that the trial is fair. Violation of these rules can lead to a dismissal of the case. In this situation, the violation led the court to overturn the conviction.
Many different types of violations can occur in a case
This is only one example of a violation of the rights of a person charged with a crime. In 2013, the arrest of a Philadelphia narcotics cop led officials to overturn the convictions of over 50 individuals accused of drug crimes due to concerns that the officer’s testimony was faulty. Evidence against the officer showed that he plotted to steal drug money and plant drugs in suspect’s vehicles.
These are just a few examples of things that can go wrong during trial or when evidence is put together against a person accused of a crime. As a result, it is important those who feel they are wrongly charged with crimes take the charges seriously and contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to better ensure their legal rights are protected.