One of the themes we like to stress on this blog is that the propriety of police investigation is an important issue when it comes to building a strong criminal defense case. Most people don’t need much convincing to understand the police are capable of serious abuses of power. Even in cases where it isn’t obvious that police have acted improperly in conducting a criminal investigation, it is good to look into the issue. This applies to a case in Tampa earlier this year in which police shot and killed a 29-year-old man during an unsuccessful drug raid.
The Tampa Police Department has apparently conducted an internal review of the incident and determined that officers acted properly in firing at the man, since they feared for both their safety and the safety of others given his actions. The man was immediately shot after he raised a weapon. Sources didn’t indicate whether civil action will be taken in the case. Chances are any such case wouldn’t get very far.
One of the big issues that can come up in police investigations is search warrants. The general requirement is that a warrant must be obtained before police conduct a search. The warrant must specifically state the objects of the search and where the search will be conducted. Several issues that can come up in this area are whether police actually conducted a “search,” whether any exceptions apply to a search police conducted without a warrant, and whether searches conducted pursuant to a warrant were conducted properly. Each of these is separate issues that can come up depending on the circumstances of the case.
It goes without saying that anybody facing criminal investigation for a drug crime should work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. This is especially the case when search and seizure issues arise.
Source: Tampabay.com, “Internal review: Tampa SWAT team acted properly in fatal pot raid,” Peter Jamison, August 15, 2014.