KN was arrested for selling crack cocaine to an undercover agent (hereafter described as “the transaction). He was charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, a class 2 felony. A class 2 felony is punishable by a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
Upon being hired by the family, our initial investigation uncovered that KH was arrested 90 minutes after the transaction was completed. A further analysis of the arrest reports showed that surveillance on the suspect was completely lost for over 90 minutes after the alleged transaction. No one could explain where the offender went during that period.
Additionally, we discovered a major discrepancy regarding the description of KH in the arrest report. During the transaction, KN was described as wearing a red shirt with long pants. However, at the time of arrest, he was described as wearing a red shirt with shorts. This may not seem like a major difference to some but it is extremely important to the defense of the case. It bears on the possible misidentification of a suspect.
The difference of clothing combined with the window of time in which surveillance was lost, created more than enough doubt as to whether KH was the same suspect whom sold crack cocaine to the undercover agent. As a result, KH turned down all plea offers and we proceeded to trial.
Our defense focused primarily on the period of time where surveillance was lost and the discrepancy in clothing. During the trial, 2 separate police officers were subjected to a vigorous cross-examination. The officers admitted to the loss of surveillance and difference in clothing but both insisted the right guy was arrested. The State argued that KH must have changed from pants to shorts during the 90 minute window. In ruling, the Judge stated that the State had failed to meet their burden and that there was reasonable as to whether KH was the same person who sold crack cocaine to the undercover agent. FINDING OF NOT GUILTY.