In State of Florida vs. AW, Case No.: 2012cf3530, the Defendant, while taking a leisurely nighttime walk around his quiet neighborhood in Port St. Lucie, became a “suspect” in a series of attempted car burglaries.
The police suspected AW because he was in the area, and an “eye witness” claimed to have seen (at least according to the police reports) AW walking near some cars, and touching the vehicle’s door handles.
Doing minimal-to-non-existent actual police investigation, the Port St. Lucie Police Department instead rellied upon notoriously unreliable eye witness testimony, and then ‘corroborated’ the eye witness by bringing him face-to-face with AW, alone, without benefit of a “lineup” or a “photo array”, and the witness confirmed that AW was the person he had seen.
AW was charged with two (2) counts of Burglary of a conveyance, each punishable by a maximum of five (5) years in the Department of Corrections, and one (1) count of ‘loitering and prowling, a second degree misdemeanor.
Our investigator went to the crime scene and recreated the evening of the incident, being careful to replicate the same phase of the moon that had been in place on the night of the near-burglaries, and photographically documented that some of the ‘unobstructed lines of sight’ the police reports had said buttressed the evidence against AW, actually were obstructed by trees and shrubbery which would have made it virtually impossible to visually identify the suspect.
When the “eye witness” was deposed under oath by Defendant’s counsel, Jay Kirschner, Esq., he candidly admitted that he had not seen the Defendant touch anyone’s car. (Meaning the sworn police affidavits were filled with misrepresentations by the “investigating” officers, who were merely attempting to “close” a case the ‘quick and dirty’ way, i.e., by inventing evidence that supported their theory of the crime, rather than allowing the evidence to dictate the nature and course of the investigation.
Result? Felony Burglary cases dropped last Friday, April 5, 2013. The defendant, simply to end the misery of the wrongful prosecution, entered a plea to the loitering, for which he was sentenced to the time he already had served.
Lesson? There is no substitute for thorough, meticulous investigation, when one’s freedom is at stake.