In Massachusetts, US District Judge Nancy Gertner dismissed drug charges against Earl Dessesaure on the grounds that federal prosecutors conducted a sloppy investigation and a Boston police officer made fabricated statements about the case in court. Gertner called the prosecution “deeply flawed” and said allowing the case to advance would undermine justice.
In 2003, Boston and Quincy police started watching Dessesaure’s apartment in Quincy. They discovered white powder in garbage bags that he would place in a dumpster close to his apartment. Police did not test the white powder that they thought could be heroin.
On February 24, police officers followed Dessesaure and witnessed an exchange that they thought was a drug deal. They arrested Dessesaure and found six plastic bags of heroin in his rectum.
They then seized his keys and entered his residence without a search warrant. At his apartment, they found a gun, more white powder, and paraphernalia to distribute drugs. It was only then that they applied for and got a search warrant. Because police conducted their first search without a warrant, the majority of the evidence became inadmissible in court.
Also, Boston police Officer John Broderick Jr. lied in court when he said that Dessesaure yelled to a crowd during an arrest that someone “call my peeps.” Broderick claimed that the shout out was a code phrase to let someone know that any remaining evidence at his home needed to be destroyed.
Officer Broderick, however, was not at the scene of the arrest. A police officer that was at the scene could not verify Broderick’s claim. Boston Police investigators continue to stand by Broderick and his actions.
In 2004, Gertner ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence for police to conduct a warrantless search of Dessesaure’s apartment. Federal prosecutors appealed the decision and won. Gertner then determined that the Speedy Trial Act was violated when there was no further action.
Her dismissal of the case with prejudice means that prosecutors cannot refile any charges related to the case. Dessesaure has been held without bail for over four years and will likely stay there while prosecutors appeal.
This is the second time that Dessesaure has been set free because the Boston police conducted improper investigations. A Suffolk Superior Court Judge threw out evidence against him in 1998 after determining that another Boston police offer made up a story about an informant. 19 bags of crack cocaine confiscated from his car were thrown out as evidence.
US Judge Dismisses Charges in Drug Case, Boston.com, November 25, 2007
System to Stem Police Perjury Not Implemented, Boston.com, October 24, 2005
Related Web Resources:
Search Warrants: What They Are and When They’re Necessary
Speedy Trial Act of 1974
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in the Boston area, you should hire an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer right away. Your criminal defense attorney can determine whether police conducted their investigation properly and if any evidence they gathered is inadmissible on court.
The Massachusetts criminal defense law firm of Altman & Altman LLP has successfully represented many people who have been arrested for drug crimes. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today to speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers.