On April 20, 2007, an undercover police officer in a bar in Westhampton Beach in Suffolk County observed a suspect hand a knotted clear plastic bag containing a white powdery substance to another person and in return he was given cash money. They then separated and left the bar. Since the officer had witnessed the sale of the suspected narcotic, he had other officers stop the truck of the buyer and they recovered the drugs which proved under testing to be cocaine. The buyer was arrested for cocaine possession.
The buyer then agreed to testify against the seller. Around two hours later, the seller was arrested. At the time of his arrest, he was not in possession of cocaine or any other drugs. The seller was arrested and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. In return for his testimony against the seller, the buyer’s criminal charges were dismissed.
Prior to court, the prosecutor asked the judge if he could get permission to ask the buyer on the stand in court if he had purchased drugs from that seller in the past. He argued that since he had been a regular customer of the seller that it would clear up any questions as to the “absence of mistake.” In other words, it would ensure that the defense could not say that the buyer was mistaken about the identity of the person who had sold him the drugs. If the buyer knew the seller, there is no “absence of mistake.” The defense counsel opposed the motion. He claimed that the seller was not going to claim that the buyer had made a mistake about naming him, but that the buyer was simply lying and that he had never sold the man drugs in the first place.
The judge originally told the prosecutor that he would not be allowed to ask the buyer any questions about previous sales. However, he told both lawyers that it was possible that additional testimony could change that ruling. In court the following date, the defense attorney questioned the buyer about his knowledge of the severity of the charges. The prosecutor again made the motion to bring in the prior sales stating that the defense attorney had opened the door to that line of questioning. Consequently, the buyer admitted to purchasing drugs from the seller on at least ten prior occasions.
The court found him guilty and he appealed. On appeal the Supreme Court reversed the decision on a matter of law since the prior transaction testimony served no purpose and was prejudicial. A new trial was ordered.
Issues of law are constantly changing. A person who is not specifically trained in the law cannot begin to know what all of their rights are without the assistance of a professional. Here at Steven Bilkis and Associates, we provide Drug crime Attorneys, and Criminal Law Lawyers. Our Drug crime Lawyers will stand by you and ensure that your rights are protected. Criminal law Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are considered. We make sure that you are defended to protect your rights.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Criminal law Lawyers has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including other areas of New York. 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 help with your defense. You and your loved ones will need advice following such a frightening experience. This is true even if the Attorney for the other side has not adequately made their case. Let us help you to recover from the devastation that has befallen your family. If you are ever arrested for a drug related crime, we are here to help.