Charles L. Truncale
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Drug cases dismissed after finding of police misconduct

A Florida judge has vacated the sentences of at least eight prisoners after reports of police misconduct were released. A former Jackson County deputy was accused of planting methamphetamine on unsuspecting drivers during traffic stops.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation, which revealed facts that undermined the confidence of the prosecuting authorities. An announcement was released that cases involving the deputy would be dismissed.

The inmates who were ordered released were all being held on methamphetamine charges related to traffic stops. One of the inmates had been arrested twice by the same deputy. Over 30 cases have been dismissed against defendants who were arrested between 2016 and 2018. Currently, 263 cases are being reviewed by the prosecuting attorney's office.

The investigation into the deputy is ongoing; no charges have been filed against him. A prosecuting attorney for the state said that he lost confidence in the deputy after reviewing his body cam footage from an arrest of a woman on Feb. 15. The deputy can be seen on video holding an item which he appeared to find in the woman's vehicle after conducting a search.

Anyone who has been arrested for drug crimes may benefit from speaking to a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney might look for weaknesses in the state's case by conducting a thorough examination of all evidence, including police reports, crime lab reports, photographs, dash cam footage and body cam video.

In some cases, an attorney may be able to help an individual accused of drug offense challenge a search because the search was not legal. Illegal searches are not always conducted because an officer intended to frame the defendant. In some cases, officers make mistakes that may lead to dismissal of the criminal charges.

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

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