Dismissal Of A Client’s Possession Of Cocaine Charges In St. Lucie County, FL
Attorney T. Charles Shafer recently used his skill and experience to secure the dismissal of a client’s possession of cocaine charges in St. Lucie County, FL
The Accused retained Attorney Shafer to represent him on a charge of possession of cocaine. Videotape from the local J’ai A’lai poker room captured a small baggie of cocaine falling to the floor from the Accused’s back pocket as the Accused, a card player, pulled money from his jeans. Subsequently, he was arrested and prosecuted for possession. Because the Accused had a previous felony criminal record, the State Attorney made a plea offer of 3 1/2 years in prison.
The drugs did not belong to the Accused. Earlier that evening, the cocaine had made its way into the client’s pocket when he took repayment of a gambling debt. The Accused had been handed folded currency, which he stuck into his back pocket without looking at it. It was not until standing in the line waiting to get chips that he pulled out the money, first to count it and then exchange it for chips. The cocaine baggie mistakenly had been mixed in with the money.
Immediately, Attorney Shafer went to work. Although it took some time and challenges, his investigator, Jerry Lyons, located the individual who had repaid the loan. After discussion, this individual gave Mr. Lyons a sworn audio taped statement admitting to a drug habit, and further admitting that he owned the cocaine and that it had gotten mixed with the money when he repaid the Accused. Later that evening, after having repaid the Accused for the loan, the true owner, thinking that had dropped the cocaine, retraced his steps, looking for his drugs. It was not until a week later, while talking to the Accused’s brother, that the true owner of the cocaine learned that the Accused had been arrested for possessing his cocaine.
After the taped statement was received, Attorney Shafer had it transcribed. He also personally questioned the organizer of a card game held several weeks prior to the Accused’s arrest at the organizer’s home. This witness told of the real owner of the cocaine borrowing money from The Accused to stay in a poker game. Attorney Shafer subpoenaed both the home owner and the real owner of the cocaine for trial. Both were prepared to testify in the client’s case.
Finally, Attorney Shafer took the deposition of the arresting deputy, who testified that the client seemed surprised when he was arrested. The deputy further testified that when the Accused ultimately was informed of the charge while being taken outside, the Accused had mentioned something about how the cocaine must have come from money from a debt. However, the deputy could not remember the exact words spoken, as he had not bothered to mention it in the arrest affidavit.
With the foregoing evidence collected and witnesses on hand, Attorney Shafer announced that he was ready to proceed to trial.
The Friday before Monday jury selection was to begin, the State filed a Nolle Prosequi, dismissing the charge. Obviously, the Accused, who for months had been bearing the weight of the prosecution, was ecstatic.