I was helping out on a criminal matter that resulted in a good outcome for the client. What started as a multi-count indictment with gun and drug possession charges and a fairly lengthy sentence, ended in the client’s release for time served. The attorney I was working with even managed to reinstate his probation even though the client had been “revoked” before the criminal case came about. This outcome was largely the product of shoddy police work and the prosecutor, to his credit, knew it; hence, the reduced charges. Client ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor obstruction.
To the general public this result may seem like familiar examples of the criminal justice system run amok and criminal defense attorneys up to their usual tricks . Even the judge, who accepted the plea but had almost no knowledge of how the police trampled on the client’s constitutional rights in their haste to rid society of another criminal element, was taken aback by the deal the client received from the prosecutor. To hear the incident recounted during the plea proceedings, one would be hard pressed to think otherwise: guns and drug-like substances were recovered, client’s friend fleeing the scene, client slamming the door on the police and then attempting to flee himself. But what was not disclosed and what really turned the case around was how the police violated god knows how many constitutional and statutory provisions against unreasonable searches and seizures when they searched the apartment client was at without a valid warrant, and the one they eventually did get was just as good as no warrant at all when they failed to comply with appropriate procedures.
The unfortunate thing is that the public will, for the most part, never learn of what the police did and, for that matter, didn’t do, in the client’s case. The fortunate thing though is that the client had attorneys who did find out what happened (not always a given) and raised hell with the prosecutor about it as was their duty under the Constitution.