What happens when the government destroys evidence?
Evidence destruction can be a due process violation if certain legal standards are met. Under the right circumstances, all charges may be dismissed.
Due Process Prohibits the Destruction of Evidence
Evidence destruction by the prosecution or law enforcement can be a very serious problem when attempting to defend someone charged with committing a crime. In United States v Collins (decided August 2015), the government had destroyed meth-making equipment citing public safety concerns. The government did not test the equipment to see if the defendant’s or any other fingerprints were on the items. The defendant asked for dismissal because the government destroyed evidence.
The Court of Appeals Considers When the Government Destroys Evidence
The Court of Appeals held that two different legal standards might apply when determining a due process violation for the destruction of evidence. “Where the government has failed to preserve “material exculpatory evidence,” the defendant may prevail if it can be proven that the evidence possessed “an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed” and was “of such a nature that the defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonably available means.” If, however, the “exculpatory value is indeterminate and only potentially useful,” the defendant must show bad faith on the part of the government in the destruction of evidence. Under either standard, the burden to show wrongdoing by the government is up to the defendant. In other words, the defendant must present proof that the government destroyed evidence.
Specialists In Evidence Issues, Including Evidence Destruction.
Evidence destruction and any other evidence manipulation by the Government are obviously detrimental to the successful defense of someone. Some average lawyers will just complain and then go ahead with handling the case. Then there is LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., who will pull no punches in holding the Government responsible for its misdeeds. When your freedom is at risk, you want to have a representative that will do everything humanly possible to protect you. This includes exposing the truth when the government destroys, manipulates, or illegally seizes evidence.
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are the premier criminal defense attorneys in Michigan. The firm is well respected by other lawyers, judges, and current and former clients. The attorneys are often called on for public speaking engagements regarding criminal law and are frequent lecturers at legal conferences. The firm’s attorneys are also multiple award winners for excellence. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is the firm to count on when facing the criminal justice system. Do not put your future at risk with “average” when you can have “great.”
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