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‘Illegal’ gathering of evidence could affect trial

When police gather evidence for a trial, there is a certain way they must do it; otherwise, the entire case could be thrown out. A Bowling Green resident is currently facing criminal charges for second-degree manslaughter and drunk driving after a deadly car crash. His criminal defense lawyer is claiming that, since the officers sidestepped getting a warrant for a sample of his blood, the evidence should be inadmissible. And under U.S. and Kentucky law, that may just be the correct call.

In this case, the driver was at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after the wreck. The officers obtained a grand jury subpoena from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, which would have been valid within Kentucky’s borders. But in order to collect the blood in Tennessee, they should have gained a search warrant from a judge.

The miscommunication between the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and the police officers who were on their way to the hospital allegedly led to illegal search and seizure, as defined by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. The judge is set to decide if this is a valid argument or not at a later date.

If this motion carries, it could mean a better plea deal for the defendant in his criminal trial. It could also set an example for future investigators to make sure they follow all laws when it comes to gathering evidence. Not doing so could lead to a mistrial or even harassment charges, depending on the situation.

Residents of Kentucky and Tennessee who are facing criminal charges should contact a qualified criminal law attorney who can represent them in court. That way, all evidence can be properly examined before the trial ever begins.

 

Source: Bowling Green Daily News, “Defense in deadly crash case wants some evidence suppressed,” Justin Story, May 20, 2015

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