What Are Potential Defense Strategies In Drug-Related Cases?
Defense strategies can be based on law or facts (or both). The defense attorney needs to obtain all relevant discovery and potentially conduct a defense investigation.
A cornerstone for many defenses includes obtaining reviewing any and all relevant and related recordings (which have become ubiquitous). To name a few: there can be officer body-worn cameras; patrol car videos both outside the car and inside the car; residential and business surveillance video, and business district video networks.
Recordings can help on many issues from the alleged incident to evaluating the voluntariness of a confession. For instance, on one occasion, a police officer reported in the incident report that they took the client suspect into custody and reported being really “nice” to him. They mentioned in the report that they let him have a cigarette, talked about stuff, asked him if he sold drugs, and the client suspect admitted it. However, we reviewing the actual audio recording these officers made all sorts of overt threats that clearly made the defendant’s statement legally involuntary.
Surveillance videos from neutral businesses can oftentimes be very helpful actually. In San Francisco County, SFPD runs stings where they pose as civilian drug buyers and their team then makes an arrest after a sale. In their arrest incident reports, they can claim that something happened. But sometimes when relevant surveillance footage is subpoenaed from a business nearby, the video footage bears nothing in relation to the police report. Such video can give a very good basis cross-examine the officers and defend our clients.
Patrol car videos, body-worn cameras and resident/business surveillance videos can help in legally analyzing the warrantless traffic stop or an initial encounter with the police leading up to the search and arrest. We always need to analyze whether the police had reasonable suspicion to first detain the client. Often, they don’t, and sometimes they lie or exaggerate.
The defense attorney needs to be diligent and able set aside a lot of time to review videos. Even a half-hour incident in real-time with 12 videos from various sources is 6 hours of video run back time.
For more information on Defense Strategies In Drug-Related Cases, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 484-0906 today.