May 06, 2017 Drug defense- Fairfax criminal lawyer says get exculpatory to the factfinder
Drug defense and all criminal defense calls for getting exculpatory evidence to the factfinder, says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Drug defense and all criminal defense includes finding and utilizing exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that may tend to negate guilt or reduced a convicted defendant’s penalty. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that exculpatory evidence must not only be requested from the prosecution through the United States Supreme Court’s Brady v. Maryland line of jurisprudence, but must be sought by the defense from all corners.
Fairfax criminal lawyer on meeting the seven-day deadline to file certificates of analysis with the court
As part of Ermias Samson’s drug defense, his lawyer offered into evidence at his jury trial that it was not Samson’s fingerprints on the bag containing the marijuana found in a car, but the fingerprints of the driver of the car in which he was the passenger. Samson v. Virginia, Record No. 0528-16-4 (Va. Ct. App. May 2, 2017) (unpublished). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that if he wanted that fingerprint certificate of analysis to be admissible at trial, his lawyer needed at least seven days before trial to have filed the certificate of analysis with the court clerk. Va. Cdoe § 19.2-187(a)(i).
Ermias Samson stands convicted of felonious possession with intent to sell marijuana under Virginia Code§ 18.2-248.1(a)(2), after his trial lawyer unsuccessfully sought to introduce into evidence the fingerprint certificate of analysis from Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science, because defense counsel did not meet the foregoing seven day rule. Samson confirms that said seven-day filing deadline was all that was needed by the defense, but had not been met.
Never assume that this and other exculpatory evidence is automatically admissible at trial merely because it is offered into evidence by the defense. The governing evidentiary rules always apply.
As an aside, Samson’s trial judge was the Honorable Lisa Bondareff Kemler, who when in private practice successfully obtained a highly publicized 1994 acquittal by reason of insanity for her client Lorena Bobbitt, prosecuted for cutting off the penis of her then-husband John Wayne Bobbitt. I first met Judge Kemler in 1991, when I began my criminal defense career. Her ruling in Samson would have come from her reading of the law, and not from any anti-defendant bias.