Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale drug arrest

Multiple drug convictions could be overturned, if a state high court decides the trial court erred in allowing certain evidence to be considered.drug crime attorney

Although this is an out-of-state case, errors in evidence admission aren’t rare. The question is whether evidence errors ever warrant a reversal. Trial courts do have broad discretion in deciding when to exclude or allow evidence. That’s why appellate and state supreme courts don’t take such decisions lightly. Still, they will occasionally reverse convictions if relevant evidence prejudicial to defendant was allowed for consideration when it shouldn’t have been or if relevant information helpful to defendant was suppressed or excluded erroneously.

The appellate courts will consider whether the evidence is of consequence or material. If it’s not key to the case and the question of guilt or innocence, the court likely won’t take a drastic step like reversal. In criminal cases, they will also look at whether there was prosecutorial abuse, including inappropriate arguments to jurors or mischaracterization of applicable law.  Continue reading

In criminal cases, scientific evidence is given a significant amount of weight, whether that is DNA evidence or proof of that a certain substance is in fact illegal. However, as we’ve seen in a number of instances across the country in recent years, that evidence is not infallible. One of the most infamous cases of this was that of a chemist in Massachusetts, who reportedly admitted to manipulating drug test results in order to give prosecutors a leg up. She is believed to have been involved in more than 20,000 drug cases in the course of her 8.5 years working with the state crime lab (from which she was later fired).powder

Now, the question is what to do about all those potentially tainted convictions, many of which were secured using the test results of that chemist. Recently, more than 4.5 years after the chemist confessed, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has called on prosecutors to reverse potentially thousands of those.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, prosecutors have been reluctant throughout this process to reverse convictions where the chemist’s work played a role. In one instance, prosecutors argued they didn’t have any obligation to let those convicted know of their possible innocence in the court’s eyes. Incredibly, one prosecutor even opined that many of the defendants were probably too poor or else too tied up with issues that were more pressing, such as addiction or mental illness, to have any real desire to address these cases. But the state’s highest court isn’t buying that. Continue reading

Dontrell Stephens was awarded $23 million earlier this year by a federal jury after he was paralyzed from the waist down when shot by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy after being stopped for riding his bicycle into traffic. wheelchair

Now, he is facing felony drug charges for reportedly selling heroin, cocaine and marijuana in close proximity to a preschool. Authorities announced the arrest of the 23-year-old Palm Beach County man in a Facebook post with his mugshot and the hashtag “BUSTED.” It was the first arrest the agency announced since it posted news of an arrest in a 40-year-old murder case. A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said the announcement on Facebook had “nothing to do with who he is, but was because he was arrested for selling drugs near a day care.”

Right…

She also insisted the agency wasn’t trying to publicize the arrest because they hadn’t issued a press release to the media. Formal press release or not, most reporters do follow the agency’s official Facebook page and would have seen it featured fairly prominently.  Continue reading