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15thkid, Criminal Defense
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 82
Experience:  Licensed Florida Attorney since 1988. Former law professor.
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In a drug conspiracy case where a CI was used to set up the

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In a drug conspiracy case where a CI was used to set up the case, how well does the case hold up in court when there is proof the CI was also engaging in criminal activity while working with law enforcement?

15thkid : This depends on what you mean by engaging in and how close in time the 2 things were. CI's are, by their nature, almost always "criminals.". Typically, someone gets in trouble and, in order to get out of it, agrees to be a CI. If it could be shown that they are working with cops by day and selling dope by night, that would be of serious benefit to the defense. But, believe it or not, even that is not a get out of jail free card.
15thkid : The cross examination of the CI by the defense attorney would be a joy, but if all the CI did was identify the defendant as the person selling the dope, and the rest of the case is proven through other, reliable witnesses, the jury could easily conviict based on that
15thkid : I am sorry I was unable to catch you in the chat room. I will unfortunately be away from my computer for a while but hope to catch you when I return.
15thkid : The other possible avenue of attack for the defense is in a pretrial motion to suppress the drugs because of the unreliability of the CI. If the CI is engaged in criminal behavior while acting as an informant, then the CI is lying to the police. The credibility of the CI might very well be so poor that the judge would find the police lacked probable cause for the search, IF the CI's information is the sole or primary basis for the search that produced the drugs. What are the facts here?

The facts are that the defendent allegedly conspired with the CI to rob a fictitious shipment of 100 kilograms of cocaine coming in by boat. There was never any drugs or a boat (entrapment basically). The defendent and his co-defendent were arrested following a meeting with the CI based on reported audio recordings of the conversations between the defendents and the CI.

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The recordings, without my hearing these particular ones, are the key to the case. Entrapment is a very, very difficult defense. Basically, the person has to be completely uninterested in any criminal activity before the cops talk them into it. This is rarely the case, according to a jury. The conspiracy is an agreement to do these criminal acts. The fact that there never was a boat or drugs doesn't help if there was an agreement and some step or movement towards accomplishing it. A baby step is just fine. Conspiracy charges are very frustrating to defend against.
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