Due to the alleged misconduct of a sheriff’s in a neighboring county of Tallahassee, Florida, a number of convicted prisoners have been set free. The purported actions of the officer in question have led to an investigation by both state and county law enforcement agencies. The investigation could lead to the dismissal of current charges against other defendants as well as the release of further prisoners.

The investigation stems from allegations that the deputy ‘planted” evidence during traffic stops. The issue began during the review of the officer’s body cam footage during a stop. According to those who witnessed the tape, is appears the officer held a small package in his left hand. Later, he claimed to have discovered a similar looking package containing methamphetamines while searching the suspect’s vehicle.

Based on evidence of potential evidence tampering, the state attorney filed documents claiming that the officer’s actions have undermined the confidence in their initial charges. Besides the eight who had been convicted, the state attorney has dismissed more than thirty pending charges against others. Investigators are currently reviewing most of the traffic stops made by the officer. The number of cases reviewed now exceeds 250.

The officer who is the focus of the allegations has not yet spoken publicly concerning the allegations. Attempts by the media to contact him have not elicited a response. He began his career with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in 2016.

Though police misconduct, especially the planting of evidence on a suspect is rare, but is does occur. For this reason, experienced criminal law attorneys are vigilant in their duties to protect the rights of the accused. Whether it is improper questioning, unlawful searches or the production of fake evidence, often the criminal defense attorney is the only person who might be able to stand against nefarious law enforcement activity.

Source:Tallahassee Democrat, “ Judge releases prisoners as deputy misconduct probe expands to 263 cases,” Jeff Burlew, September 21, 2018

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