San Diego Criminal Lawyer Wins Freedom in Federal Drug Case
When R.H. hired San Diego Criminal defense lawyers Russell Babcock and Ryan Mardock, he told them that he wanted to go to trial. R.H. was charged with a conspiracy in the United States District Court Southern District (San Diego) to smuggle approximately ten pounds of methamphetamine into San Diego from Tijuana. An acquaintance of his, G.A. implicated him when G.A. was stopped with the methamphetamine in a car a couple of weeks earlier.
Federal defense lawyers, Russell Babcock successfully argued that the arrest of R.H. was unlawful because the search warrant contained false statements and was based purely on the uncorroborated word of G.A. The United States federal district court judge agreed and ruled that the United States Attorney could not use the statement of R.H. or the cellphone they seized from him in trial because they had been obtained without probable cause.
The day before trial, G.A. told the District Court Judge that he would not testify against R.H. despite being ordered to do so. Having no remaining evidence to use to convict R.H., the government dismissed his methamphetamine conspiracy case.
The flaw in many of the cases constructed by the prosecution is that they build their cases around the testimony of co-defendants, jailhouse informants, and cooperating witnesses. When I was a District Attorney, I was trained informants are inherently unreliable,their testimony should be used sparingly, and with great caution. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said regarding informants:
Criminal informants are cut from untrustworthy cloth and must be managed and carefully watched by the government and the courts to prevent them from falsely accusing the innocent, from manufacturing evidence against those under suspicion of crime, and from lying under oath in the courtroom. As Justice Jackson said forty years ago, “The use of informers, accessories, accomplices, false friends, or any of the other betrayals which are ‘dirty business’ may raise serious questions of credibility.” A prosecutor who does not appreciate the perils of using rewarded criminals as witnesses risks compromising the truth-seeking mission of our criminal justice system.
The prosecution’s case should always be built with solid and reliable evidence and trustworthy witnesses. Police officers should always independently investigate the case and not rely upon the words of informants who will say anything to receive a better sentence. A well-constructed case looks like this:
A well constructed case
A case built with informants, snitches and co-defendants looks like this:.
A weak criminal case
Unlike many law firms, at the Law Office of Russell Babcock, we never brow-beat or cajole clients to plead guilty simply to “get a good deal.” Here, the client decided to go to trial and his decision paid off.
Congratulations R.H. for gaining your freedom! May you now use it wisely.