On October 4th, the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division made the decision to reverse a prior conviction in the case regarding a man’s 2015 drug charges. The court’s reversal of his conviction is based on the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
Police officers stopped the man during a routine traffic stop in 2014. The defendant failed to produce a valid driver’s license and gave a false name to the officers, so they charged him with hindering apprehension and brought him into the station. Upon arrival, the booking officer noticed a bulge in the man’s sock. Officers argued that they then removed the sock and found several bags of heroin. Within five days of the arrest, the defendant’s defense team requested the preservation of the police video evidence, but the state failed to respond. The tapes were ultimately lost when the police station re-recorded over them.
The appellate court found that the state’s refusal to save the video evidence in combination with the court’s decision to not allow the jury to consider the state’s refusal as adverse interference was unfair. Additionally, the lower courts had allowed prosecutors to admit the defendant’s original hindering apprehension charge as evidence, but these charges were never pursued. At the time, the man’s defense team argued against permitting this evidence, but his motion was denied. The appellate court found that such evidence should’ve been excluded from the trial.
As a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney William J. Connelly, III is uniquely qualified to advise you on your criminal case. His in-depth knowledge and experience operating within the New Jersey legal system give his clients a great advantage inside and outside the courtroom. He has over twenty years of experience in cases involving drug, DUI, weapon, traffic and disorderly conduct charges. To contact Attorney William J. Connelly, III, call 732-333-6096 or fill out our convenient online contact form.
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