A Lowell, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer defending a man accused of a couple of drug felonies might get the charges dismissed. Just two days ago the lawyer complained that the prosecution was in violation of an order to produce potentially exculpatory evidence. According to reports the prosecution was given until Monday to produce information confirming that the informants used in this case were not the same informants previously publicly deemed unreliable. The prosecution did not produce the affidavits. Instead, the district attorney’s office passed blame to the police claiming that they never produced the requested and necessary affidavits. The judge extended the time for compliance until Thursday. If the documents ordered are not ready by that time then all evidence attributable to the informant’s efforts will be excluded at trial.
The underlying case here stemmed from a search warrant executed at a Lowell apartment. The affidavit in support of the warrant was predicated in part on information learned from two confidential informants. During the search officers located Oxycodone, and cocaine, a class B substance the quantity of which justified charges of possession with the intent to distribute, a felony in Massachusetts. The district attorney also charged with defendants with conspiracy. Drug paraphernalia was also found during the search. The informants in question were believed to have fabricated evidence in other instances that ultimately resulted in the dismissal of seventeen cases.
This case demonstrates the value of having a persistent criminal defense lawyer. Here, the lawyer understood that cases in Lowell using dirty informants had been revealed. He also learned that several cases where those individuals were used had been dismissed. In this case, I am assuming that the fact of the case did not require the disclosure of the informant’s identity. So, the defense attorney kept fighting. He moved for confirmation that the bad informants were not used in this case. It is no wonder why the judge has threatened what will ultimately be a dismissal of this case. If the prosecution is unable to put together written confirmation under oath that these people were not involved in this investigation there is a strong suggestion that they were in fact somehow connected to this prosecution thereby warranting sanctions.
This case also shows how judges might hold the prosecution to a high standard of integrity. Compelling them to produce sworn statements showing that there is nothing illicit about this investigation promotes confidence in the system. And if these arrests came about as a result of tainted information the cases simply should be dismissed. The district attorney in this case should really be relieved by the judge’s order if he or she has any doubt about the credibility of these informants. Presenting dirty evidence creates the possibility of sanctions against the prosecutor, something that is entirely avoidable in this case.