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Amherst, MA: 413-549-0022

“Reliable” Informant Not So Reliable In Gun/Drug Case

Posted on : December 25, 2015, By:  Tom Kokonowski, Esq.

In the criminal defense world we see the dog-eat-dog nature of the streets and the way that “business” is conducted between the people and “agua” (police).  The police rely on information on the streets coming from people who are jammed up with the police, themselves, when conducting investigations.  The police describe them as confidential and reliable informants (CRI).  Sometimes these people are not so reliable.

The police received information from one of these CRIs that my client was in possession of guns that the police were looking for.  The police used this information in an affidavit to secure a search warrant to search my client’s house for those guns.  The police busted down his door and tossed everything around in search of the guns.  Guess what…no guns.  Often times these CRIs feel pressure to produce information for the police because of their own criminal activity and give bad information.  That’s what happened in this case.  It doesn’t end there, though.

On their way out of the now-trashed house the police saw what they ultimately allege was a large amount of cocaine “in plain view”. My client was charged with possession of a class B substance with intent to distribute, instead.  I filed a motion to suppress the search because I believed that the police did not demonstrate the CRI’s reliability and basis of knowlege within that affidavit.  We arrived, last week, for the hearing on that motion but I requested to see the analysis of the substance the police seized before we did the hearing.  Indeed, that analysis had arrived a week prior.  Guess what...no drugs.  My client had been insisting, all along, that there were no drugs in his home. He was right. What they seized was the active ingredient in over-the-counter toothache medicine.  Ouch!

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