Pot Charges Dropped Magnum Jones (not his real name) was arrested for possession of marijuana under 20 grams on August 27, 2013. Police approached two men who were simply standing next to a van located in a public place. The police officer claimed that there was nothing on the ground when he first engaged both individuals in conversation. Suddenly, the police officer asserted that a small plastic bag appeared “next to both males”, but “lying just beneath the vehicle”. The alert officer determined that the small plastic bag contained an enormous amount of marijuana, weighing in at nearly 1.5 grams. The police officer arrested both “suspects” in order to enforce the drug laws of the State of Florida. Of course, the arresting officer could not say where the small plastic bag came from, nor could he state which man (if either of them) caused the plastic bag to be placed where it was found. The ever thorough police officer determined that it was better to arrest the innocent in order assure that the guilty do not go free. Accordingly, the alert officer arrested both men, knowing with near certainty that he was arresting at least one man who was innocent.
St Lucie Drug Lawyer Jeffrey Garland was retained to represent Magnum Jones on this charge. Mr. Garland filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 3.190(c) of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The motion alleged that the evidence was insufficient – even if viewed in a light most favorable to the State – to support a finding of guilt. There were no fingerprints on the plastic bag. There was no DNA evidence connecting the small plastic bag to either man. No one saw either man throw down the small plastic bag. Indeed, it was not even known for sure whether the small plastic bag originated
from either man. The motion was set for hearing on January 27, 2014, before St. Lucie County Judge Phillip J. Yacucci, Jr. The prosecutor wisely elected to drop both charges on January 24, 2014.
This case highlights how the police – prison industrial complex operates. Knowing with near certainty that at least one man is innocent, law enforcement officers seek to assert the rule of law by arresting everyone, including the innocent. The practice of arresting innocent people necessarily
sends the wrong message. This sort of corrupt and indefensible practice fails to build public support and respect for the law enforcement community.