8/04/2017

No More Slam Doughnuts AKA The Case of the Magic Cell Phone

        In case that would have ordinarily have been a slam dunk for the prosecution and a one way ticket to the slammer for my Client, a Bay Area Veteran Police Officer had to hire his own lawyer to explain allegations that: Veteran violated Client’s constitutional rights; that Veteran repeatedly lied to the court and to the prosecutor to cover-up the violations, to explain how  Client’s phone made a phantom phone call from his phone after Veteran booked Client into police custody; and to explain why Client’s phone disappeared from the evidence locker for almost two months after Veteran booked it into evidence.
  On July 6, 2014, Veteran was driving on patrol when he noticed a Ford Mustang broadcasting loud music and loud exhaust from “about 70 feet”away. Veteran supposedly saw Client make “multiple lane changes” without signaling.  After Veteran stopped Client, he noticed Client displayed signs of drug intoxication, so Veteran ordered Client out of the car to search it.
        Inside what could only have been Hunter S. Thompson’s car, Veteran found a backpack in the trunk which contained a firearm, a bag of marijuana, and 71 $20.00 bills.  Veteran noticed some loose panels in the dash, so he unscrewed the dash and he found another pistol, cocaine, MDMA powder, MDMA pills, Xanax pills and methamphetamine.  He also found a bullet proof vest and a high capacity magazine containing 13 rounds of ammunition.   Not bad for a traffic stop, but unfortunately, Veteran was not satisfied with the numerous felony gun and dope charges-Veteran still wanted evidence that the drugs were possessed for sales-- so he could increase Client’s punishment even more, and maybe he violated the constitution to get it.
  The plot thickens, Veteran  alleged that while booking the suspect, and without pressing any buttons or activating the phone in any way, Veteran noticed a text message magically appear on Client’s phone which asked simply: “Can I get one”?  This text , was sufficient to convince a judge to issue a search warrant to search Client’s cell phones and his home for more evidence that Client was a dope dealer.  They say timing is everything.  One month earlier, the Supreme Court ruled that Cops could no longer search a cell phone after an arrest without a warrant.  Maybe  Veteran didn’t get the memo; perhaps that’s why Veteran insisted the text magically appeared on Client’s phone without his assistance.  We may never know.
        Veteran’s traffic stop evidence, his “unbiased” expert testimony that the text message proved that the drugs were possessed for sales, and his opinion that the guns were used to protect Client’s dope trade from rogues, thieves and robbers, were all enough to satisfy a judge to issue  a search warrant to search Client’s home and phones.  Veteran’s evidence convinced the prosecution to elevate the charges from simple drug and gun possession to the more serious charges that the drugs in Suspect’s possession were possessed for sales.
        I retained a renown cell phone expert to examine the exact make and model phone as the phone seized from Client and he declared under penalty of perjury that there was no way Veteran could have seen any incriminating text messages without illegally searching the phone.  Once caught red-handed violating Client’s constitutional rights and then lying to cover-up his misconduct,  Veteran  tried to cover his tracks and obtained a grand total of four search warrants.          
        Why Veteran removed the phone from the evidence locker for almost two months after he booked it, we will never know.  The District Attorney hired its own expert who discovered that Client’s phone made a mysterious outgoing call from the Police Department after suspect was booked into custody and had no access to the phone!  Incredible.
        After an aggressive round of pre-trial motions to convince the court that Veteran lied to four different  judges about violating Suspects constitutional rights, the District Attorney dismissed all charges and Suspect went home.  The DA’s investigation of Veteran's misconduct  is ongoing.

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