On March 2, 2016, the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a crack distribution case because
How It Went Down
The decision is called State v. Donald Anderson.
Weapon drawn, a detective ordered
Why The Fight When He Had The Drugs?
Rights at stake. Officers can’t stop you for no reason. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids them from unreasonable “seizures,” which includes stopping you while walking around. To legally stop you, officers must have a good reason—legally called “reasonable suspicion”—you are involved in crime.
What does reasonable suspicion look like? Honestly, there’s no clear definition: it’s basically “we know it when we see it (or not).” To evaluate reasonable suspicion, judges look at the whole picture to see if the officer has a specific and unbiased reason to suspect you of crime. Every case is different, and there are many factors based on the situation that made you catch police attention.
Supreme Court Finds This Stop Unconstitutional
The Supreme Court determined officers did not have reasonable suspicion
The Court ruled being in a high crime area doesn’t give officers the right to stop just anybody. As justices must, they balanced their decision by pointing out they give great respect to officer experience due to the tough, dangerous situations they face every day. But here, the Court just couldn’t accept allowing people to be stopped just because they suffer the “misfortune of living in an area plagued by crime.”
The Court also noted the search warrant didn’t include the footpath where officers found
Results Like This Don’t Get Handed Out
Police and prosecutors can be unforgiving on drug cases. Without an experienced criminal defense lawyer to notice the violation of his constitutional rights, to make his case properly at trial, and to keep fighting through appeal, Anderson would never have had a chance to erase the stain of his conviction or the pain of his sentence, which included jail.
If you’re charged with a drug crime, it won’t be any different for you. The only thing you might be missing out on by not contacting a drug defense lawyer is an outcome you can live with that doesn’t include prison—and it might just be dismissal. It won’t cost you a thing for a free meeting with us to discuss building your defense. Contact us right now with a live chat to set that up.