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Tag: defense attorneys

FBI Evidence-Handling Controls Considered Too Lax, Could Jeopardize Drug Cases

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Serious questions have been raised about the FBI’s evidence-handling controls that could be used by defense attorneys to seek reversals on convictions, The Washington Times reports.

The problem: The FBI doesn’t have video cameras in some of its evidence rooms, including the Washington field office.

The issue was raised by 13 defense attorneys handling a drug conspiracy case.

The attorneys made the revelation in court filings involving Matthew Lowry, an FBI agent accused of stealing seized heroin.

“If there’s a problem in the FBI evidence room, and it’s just a room with shelves and anybody can walk in and out, that would have huge implications as far as the trustworthiness of evidence,” defense lawyer A. Eduardo Balarezo said in an interview.

According to Balarezo, Lowry checked out evidence without any stated purpose.

While cameras aren’t required for evidence room, they are the best way to protect the integrity of evidence, said Joe Latta, executive director for the International Association for Property and Evidence Inc.

“If you look at general law enforcement, I’d say more don’t have video surveillance than do,” Latta said. “Should they? Absolutely. But the evidence room is sometimes low on the food chain in the organization.”

Legal Observers Say Gov. Blago’s Media Blitz Could Hurt Him in Court

Gov. Blago is creating a nightmare scenario for any attorney who will have to defend him in court. There’s two words you never seem to hear from the guy: “No comment”.

BY NATASHA KORECKI
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Gov. Blagojevich’s media blitz might make him feel better about his case, but all those recent high-profile interviews are likely to come back to bite him in a big way, experienced defense lawyers say.
That’s because any statement the governor makes about his case could be used against him by prosecutors at a future trial.
But it isn’t a two-way street. Blagojevich’s lawyers can’t play the governor’s proclamations of innocence to jurors, said defense lawyer Joel Levin.
Since last week, Blagojevich has appeared on radio shows and national television programs including “The View,” and “Larry King Live.” Blagojevich likened his situation to the jailing of peace and civil rights leaders and made references to the charges.
“Given that he doesn’t know all the evidence against him, there’s tremendous risk in what he’s doing,” said Levin, who prosecuted ex-Gov. George Ryan. “Some of the statements . . . might fit nicely into the theories [prosecutors] are laying out.”

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