Lafayette Attorney Steven Knecht obtains dismissal of charges
Steven Knecht successfully obtained the dismissal of dealing in cocaine charges last week due to the State destroying the alleged cocaine prior to trial.
A defendant has the right to examine physical evidence possessed by the State. The State’s failure to preserve physical evidence may present grounds for dismissal based on denial of due process of law. To determine whether a defendant’s due process rights have been violated, a court must first decide whether the evidence in question was potentially useful evidence or materially exculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence tends to show a person is not guilty. Potentially useful evidence is evidentiary material of which no more can be said than that it could have been subjected to tests, the results of which might have exonerated the defendant. The State’s duty to preserve exculpatory evidence is limited to evidence that might be expected to play a significant role in the suspect’s defense. To meet this standard of constitutional materiality, evidence must both possess an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed, and be of such a nature that the defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonably available means. If the evidence is only potentially useful, the defendant must establish bad faith on the part of the State in failing to preserve the evidence. The State’s good or bad faith in failing to preserve materially exculpatory evidence is immaterial.
Knecht successfully argued that the alleged cocaine destroyed by the State was materially exculpable resulting in the dismissal of all charges.
With over 30 years of trial experience, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to drug offenses battery and other criminal charges. If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have a lot at stake on the outcome.