Police officer’s lies force court to throw out drug case

There are many people in Minneapolis who likely believe that if a defendant pleads guilty to a drug crime that he or she is guilty. According to the law, he or she would be, but what happens when there is new evidence uncovered that may call into question the nature of the guilty plea? One court has determined that new evidence may make a confession involuntary, meaning it is void.

What was the new evidence that the court heard? An officer with an out-of-state drug enforcement agency task force claimed in his initial search warrant that a trusted and reliable informant had given him considerable information implicating a man of selling drugs from his home. The officer, however, was lying; his information never came from a reliable source, but from an unnamed and confidential source. This lie, the court found, was enough to make a defendant’s guilty plea involuntary.

Soon after his arrest, the defendant was advised by his attorney to plead guilty to various drug charges. The attorney said that since she had no reason to believe that there was a problem with the warrant, she recommended the guilty plea because the prosecution had a strong case. Had she known that the officer had lied on his warrant, however, it would have been highly unlikely she would have made the recommendation.

Following his attorney’s advice, the defendant pled guilty. Now that it was found the warrant was a lie, the court has decided that there was sufficient proof that the man may not have pled guilty.

There are very specific rights that anyone accused of drug crimes in Minneapolis has, but it is best to work with a criminal defense attorney to make sure those rights are protected.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Cop’s Lies Cost Government on Appeal,” Dan McCue, April 3, 2013

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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