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Court today: One Defendant, Two Cases

This morning I'm off to Morris County Superior Court, located in Northern New Jersey, to represent a young man wtih two pending cases. It is not uncommon for one defendant to have multiple cases pending in the same court. Oftentimes, criminal defendants will be under the influence of drugs and go on "crime sprees", commiting mulitple offenses within hours or days. Oftentimes, they are "dope sick", or going through heroin withdrawal symptoms, which are horrendous. They will do anything to get money to buy the drug.

This particular client was involved in a controlled drug sale involving a police confidential witness or "CW". The CW was used to build a case against a drug dealer who was the target of a police investigation. The police provided the CW with money, a wire then had him contact the drug dealer via cell phone. Arrangements were made for the CW to pick up the dealer at his residence. The pair then traveled to a local restaurant, where a third party, my client, arrived by car. The suspected dealer and my client exited their vehicles and according to the police, "completed a transaction." This to me, is the weakness in the State's case against my client. Afterwards, the dealer returned to the car with the CW, and a sale of heroin was completed.

Unless there is something else, I'm not sure that the State can prove its case against my client. Sure, he and the drug dealer spoke/shook hands, but so what? How do we know that the dealer didn't already have the heroin with him when the CW picked him up? Isn't it possible that my client and the dealer exchanged something other than heroin? How do we know that my client handed the dealer anything at all? I need to obtain the recording from the CW's "wire" to see if there is any helpful evidence.

This client also has a second case pending in Morris County. This incident occurred at a WalMart store, where one of the co-defendants was apparently found "nodding off" in the store. This man was with my client. Security chased the sleepy fellow out of the store and called the police. When approached, the man told the police that my client and a femaie co-defendant where still in the store and that they had his car keys. He next called my client on his cell phone and brough the police to him. He and the other co-defendant were "patted down" and found to be in possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. The female was apparently digging around in her purse and the police felt she could be reaching for a weapon.

The possibility of a weapon gives the police sufficient probable cause to pat down my client. The problem is that if they feel endangered, the police can do what is reasonably necessary to insure their own safety, hence their "pat down" of all parties.

I anticipate gettng a plea offer in court this morning.

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