Marijuana charges were dismissed recently in Chicago after it was shown that no less than
five officers perjured themselves in a pretrial suppression hearing.
Drug cases more often than not involve situations in which law enforcement must abide
by certain constitutional standards when gathering evidence that will
be used in a jury trial. Knowing that critical evidence will be suppressed
if they do not comply with the laws pertaining to search and seizure,
the incentive for officers to lie is huge and ever-present. The vast majority
of the time, it works. Here, in this case, five officers were caught red-handed
and the prosecution was forced to dismiss the marijuana charges that the
defendant was facing.
Evidentiary Hearing Contesting Evidence Underlying The Marijuana Charges
Late last month five police officers took the stand in a Chicago courtroom
seeking to justify the legality of the search of a criminal suspect's
car. Realizing that the case against the defendant was in grave jeopardy,
all five officers told a specific version of the event. The testimony
was precisely consistent on the essential facts pertaining to the search,
which was the basis of the marijuana charges. Incredibly, the officers
were unaware of the existence of a police video that entirely contradicted
their sworn testimony. The defense, however, was not unaware of the video.
When cross-examining the officers, the defense painstakingly committed
the officers to each of the lies to which they had sworn on direct examination.
The defense then played the police department's own video footage,
which showed the officers blatantly lying under oath. Cook County Circuit Judge
Catherine Haberkorn, a former prosecutor, was outraged. "All officers lied on the stand
today. All their testimony was a lie. So there's strong evidence it
was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everybody to come up with the
same lie. Many, many, many, many times they all lied." After excoriating
the officers on the record for their obvious orchestrated lies, Judge
Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest of the defendant, leading prosecutors
to quickly dismiss the felony marijuana charges.