You Can’t Hold Someone Just on Tainted Evidence

A man who was released on bail for drug charges due to tainted evidence from the drug lab scandal apparently skipped his court date and is now a fugitive. While the internet commenters may be going crazy, if the evidence held by the state is clearly suspect, this is absolutely how the system has to work. 

The Boston Globe reports that the man was alleged to have been selling cocaine to an undercover officer. Due to the recent massive scandal at the drug evidence lab in Jamaica Plain.

While it’s likely that they had other evidence against him, and it’s easy for most people to conclude that the guy is probably guilty, not having an actual legally established controlled substance to establish the crime in with a serious felony charge should be a factor.

That’s just how the system has to work. It’s not the judges fault for reducing his bail. Bail amounts are usually based on a number of factors, including the severity of the charge, the quality of the evidence, the likelihood to re-offend, danger to the community, and flight risk.

While a couple of these factors were certainly still in play, the fact that actually proving a felony intent to distribute charge was going to a lot harder is certainly something the judge rightly considered, we assume.

Of course, now that he is accused of failure to appear and skipping out on an outstanding warrant, the game has changed for this defendant. When he is re-apprehended, and it is practically inevitable that he will be, he is going to have a much tougher time getting out on bail now that he has established his reluctance to take his court dates seriously. That is the kind of thing that judges are not amused by.

But the bottom line is that this isn’t on the judge. When the system doesn’t function, it just isn’t acceptable to hold people in jail just because they seem guilty.  And a massive and deliberate fraud by agents of the Commonwealth in handling evidence is clear evidence of the system not functioning.

We should be happy that judges don’t just have the legal power to hold people without a serious chance of proving the charge. These government and legal restrictions and limitations protect us all, the guilty and the innocent.

If you are charged with a drug crime call Russell Matson at 781 380-7730.

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