Sometimes things aren't always what they seem. That can be especially true in the criminal justice system right here in New York City.
Fortunately, those accused of crimes are considered innocent until proven guilty. However, police have been known to play fast and loose with the alleged "evidence." Therefore, it is entirely possible for an innocent person to be convicted of a crime that he or she never committed.
Such was almost the case recently for a Queens man accused of possessing an illegal weapon. Three years ago, the now 30-year-old man was arrested after police officers accused him of throwing a gun down in front of them. He was taken to Rikers Island, where he has been ever since.
That all changed last week when, at his trial in Queens Supreme Court, his criminal defense attorney refuted the prosecution's case by accusing a police lieutenant of fabricating evidence against his client.
The attorney introduced evidence of a lawsuit filed against the lieutenant by another man arrested under similar circumstances who had his weapons possession charge dismissed. After weighing the testimonies and evidence in the case, the jury voted to acquit the defendant.
In an interview after his client was set free, the defense attorney stated, "The bottom line is that basically I was saying this lieutenant is not trustworthy."
Not all defendants are guilty of the crimes for which they stand accused, and not all policemen follow the laws and procedures of the state and the city. Anyone facing a weapons charge in New York City needs a strong advocate in their corner ready to challenge shaky evidence and take on the prosecution.
If you get arrested in New York City, avail yourself of your constitutional right to remain silent and request to see a defense attorney as soon as possible.
Source: New York Daily News, "Jury acquits Queens man of illegal gun charges after lawyer claims cop ‘is not trustworthy’," Eli Rosenberg, June 19, 2015