Pressure to convict, emotional attachment to cases and an obsession to see justice delivered whatever the costs, can lead to cover-ups and shortcuts in compiling a case against suspected criminals. The fact is, on occasion, the police and law enforcement authorities in Florida bend or conceal the truth in order to win at trial.
Successful prosecutions against the police and prosecutors are rare
A recent high-profile case in which three Fort Lauderdale police officers were prosecuted for perjury and other offenses highlights the difficulty of successfully bringing allegations of wrongdoing against police officers. In that case, the officers alleged that suspected burglar Kenneth Post rammed their car, causing damage, although it was later proven that the damage to their car was in fact caused by an earlier unrelated accident. Mr. Post also alleged that the officers beat him up and falsified their reports of the incident. The officers were suspended following the incident, pending the trial. However, the jury was unable to deliver a unanimous verdict and the trio was ultimately acquitted.
Check the police reports carefully
Obtaining copies of all police reports from the scene of an incident and all subsequent procedures including arrest, charges and interviews is an integral part of compiling an effective criminal defense. Good criminal defense lawyers know how to spot inconsistencies in officers' evidence — where more than one officer is involved in an arrest, your attorney should check whether the officers' recollections agree with each other.
Florida is only one of two states that allow depositions of all relevant officers. A thorough deposition of all involved officers often reveals glaring inconsistencies. We always take the depositions of the main officers involved in your case. Additionally, we often have a private investigator conduct our own independent investigation. Frankly, I trust my investigator's findings much more than I do law enforcement's.
Attorneys Derek Byrd and Drew Solnoki of The Byrd Law Firm have been practicing criminal defense law in Sarasota Florida for more than 16 years. They both have long histories of successful litigation and Mr. Byrd is recognized as an expert in criminal trial law by the Florida Bar.