Incarcerated offenders often apply to the Supreme Court to have their convictions overturned. In order for the Supreme Court to hear a case, it must be a case that involves an issue of law or of constitutional significance. If a person has been incarcerated and they believe that their case qualifies for Supreme Court review, they can submit a motion to the court to be heard.
One such case involved a defendant who was convicted of felony charges in connection with two narcotic sales that he made to undercover New York State Police Investigators. The defendant alleges that the Rensselaer County Court made a mistake in denying his motion to suppress his identification as the subject who sold the drugs. He contends that the photo array that was presented to the officers was unduly prejudicial.
The photo array was created by a City of Troy Police Officer who picked the pictures out of departmental records by using the physical description that was listed on the State Police Investigators’ buy sheet. He chose five photographs. All of the photographs contained pictures of black males with dreadlocked hair. All of them had some facial hair to one degree or another. The photographs were placed on a table with no names visible. The two State Police Investigators were brought in separately and asked to identify the subject that they had purchased drugs from. They both picked out the defendant. The Supreme Court agrees with the county court that the prosecution met their burden regarding the “reasonableness of their conduct and the lack of suggestiveness in the compilation of the photo array.”
Next, the defendant stated that he was improperly limited by the County Court from getting testimony to support his theory that he was misidentified. He claims that there was another individual who lived in the vicinity of the drug sale and who also fit the basic description of a black male with dreadlocks and facial hair. He contends that it was that person who probably sold drugs to the officers, but that it was not him. The Court in this case encourages a defendant to feel free to present a general misidentification defense. However in order to present a misidentification defense the defendant must show some sort of clear link that goes beyond mere speculation that the other person had to have committed the crime. In this case, the defendant failed to provide any kind of link between the crime and the other man in the area who was black and had facial hair and dread locks. The court ruled to dismiss this claim.
Additionally, the defendant stated that the prosecution was allowed to question him in reference to a previous theft conviction for the purpose impeaching him. The people were not allowed to explore the defendant’s prior possession of cocaine or other felony drug crimes that were similar in scope to the case at trial. Since these crimes were, “an indication of defendant’s willingness to place his interests above that of society and were probative with respect to the issue of defendant’s credibility.” The court chose to disregard the defendant’s claims for lack of merit.
The defendant filed other motions to have his case overturned as well. Each contention was found to be lacking in merit and not a cause to overturn his conviction. Drug offenders occupy a lot of space in the prison systems of our country. While the court is always willing to review the legality of an arrest to ensure that justice is being served, what are the limits? Should there be any limits? It is easy to say that there should, but not so easy to agree with that if you are the one who has been charged.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Criminal law Lawyers has convenient offices located throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. Our Drug Crime Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Drug Crime Lawyer, you could lose precious compensation to pay for your defense.