The integrity of police investigations is an important issue to explore in any criminal defense case. For the most part, prosecutors are dependent on law enforcement for the raw material they use to build their criminal cases. A mistake in the way a criminal investigation is conducted can have an enormous impact on a criminal case.
Take, for instance, the recent arrest of Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Sigman, who is accused of purchasing drugs while he was uniformed and on duty. According to investigators, Sigman admitted that he illegally purchased 20 Percocet pills for $40 for his own consumption. The officer has been removed from duty without pay and is likely going to be terminated.
One of the consequences of the incident is that cases handled by the officer are not being investigated for potential contamination. Although Sigman had worked as a detective in property crimes cases and did not work in the narcotics division of the Sheriff’s Office, officials are still reviewing his previous arrests to see whether those cases may have been impacted.
Whether or not the officer’s arrest will end up getting criminal cases dismissed remain to be seen. It could certainly be argued that the officer’s lack of integrity prevents him from being a trustworthy witness in cases in which he was involved. Prosecutors may or may not need his testimony in those cases, though, so it really depends on the circumstances.
The point we’re trying to make here is that defendants should always work with an experienced attorney to examine any potential issues surrounding police integrity. When there are questions as to the reliability of investigative work, properly highlighting these issues can have a positive impact on a defendant’s case.