In our last post, we began speaking about the issue of admissibility of evidence in criminal defense cases. As we noted, looking at this issue from a defense perspective requires scrutinizing whether any given piece of evidence is both relevant and reliable, the latter issue being particularly common in criminal cases.
A recent example of the potential impact of the reliability issue in criminal cases is the conviction of a former FBI agent in Maryland for tampering with drug evidence in the course of numerous criminal investigations. The agent was found to have abused heroin obtained during the course of his investigative work, thus spoiling evidence in a number of cases.
At least 28 defendants have had drug charges dismissed as a result of the tampering with evidence, which has obviously raised concerns among law enforcement and the public. As unfortunate as this may be from the standpoint of public safety and for the reputation of law enforcement, defendants should not have to face the possibility of conviction based on evidence that very well may have been corrupted because of problems with the criminal investigation.
Those who face any criminal charges should always work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to build the best possible case. Doing so allows them to work with an advocate who understands the issues with respect to admissibility of evidence, whether relating to relevance or reliability.
In our next post, we’ll look at another factor that can come into play in the admissibility of evidence in criminal cases.