Thursday, August 14, 2008

Training Prosecutors: Garbage In, Garbage Out

It happens very rarely, a prosecutor reads a motion to suppress in a small drug case or misdemeanor, finds it to be well taken, and agrees to dismiss the case. And no, I'm not talking about the routine b.s. motions that are not well taken, but debatable.

I'm talking about the one where the officer basically says he had a "hunch" the client was selling or possessing drugs, and conducted a search. The ones that law students look at in criminal law class and know right away that the Fourth Amendment has been excoriated.

Then yesterday I realized why this rarely happens, and again, I'm talking about dead-bang obvious motions, so spare me the "most defense motions are worthless......" argument.

Simple facts: some unidentified person tells the officer my client is smoking pot. Officer sees my client driving through parking lot normally, does not see him smoking pot. Pulls him over, finds pot. Pretty obvious. Differing minds could not disagree on these set of facts.

The prosecutor told me incredulously "we would never dismiss a case because a motion was well taken."

Now she didn't learn this in school, she was trained to conduct herself this way. She was told: "let the judge decide." Senior prosecutors will deny this, but then tell me, where did she get her training? Where did she learn that her position is an effective use of resources?

I know the answer, she was seeing if I'd take a plea.

No need.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com