Most people in New York and across the country would agree that the word of a law enforcement officer holds a great deal of weight. In fact, many people have found themselves facing criminal charges based on reports of incidents — such as the discovery of drugs — given by police. However, those who were defendants in criminal cases connected to a detective now accused of falsifying a search warrant application may be wondering whether illegal actions on the part of officers led to their arrest.
The detective at the center of the recent controversy was reportedly part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force in April 2018. He, along with his colleagues, reportedly had a warrant to search the first two floors of an apartment building; the owner of the building reportedly lived on the first floor of the building but rented out the second and third floors. At the time, the building owner was on probation for a conviction related to selling cocaine.
During the search, law enforcement officers reportedly discovered a large quantity of drugs, including cocaine, in addition to drug paraphernalia. Though the detective claimed that the items were discovered in the owner’s possession, later evidence — including photographs of the search — indicate that they were actually discovered on the third floor. The charges against the man were dropped after he spent four months behind bars.
As a result of this situation, the district attorney has announced that all cases involving the detective will be reviewed and will move to vacate the convictions if illegal action on the part of law enforcement officers is discovered. Those who were convicted in criminal cases involving the New York detective may choose to have an attorney representing their interests carefully review their cases in the event that the district attorney’s office overlooks an illegal action. While most law enforcement officers are committed to justice, false statements have the potential of sending innocent people to prison. These acts may be difficult for someone without legal training and experience to identify on their own.