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Search and seizure questions could lead to evidence suppression

It was reported on Aug. 31 that an illinoiss attorney and prosecutor intended to reconvene a motion hearing to determine whether the search of a vehicle involved in a homicide and meth case was valid. The judge noted that he had heard no testimony to justify the opening of the bag that allegedly contained the meth byproduct without a search warrant.

The defendant in the case was taken into custody in July 2016 after he was accused of being involved in a crash that killed a 71-year-old man. He was facing charges for a Class X felony as well as for possession of meth, driving under the influence of drugs, and felony reckless homicide.

A member of the illinoiss State Police Meth Response Team testified in court that he tested what appeared to be suspected meth manufacturing byproduct that was found bagged up inside the vehicle in question. However, testimony from five others showed that it was not known who actually opened the bag. Initially, the field test on the suspected meth waste was inconclusive but the results from the crime lab showed that the substance was positive for meth.

There are constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizures. If, for example, drugs were found through an illegal search, a person facing drug charges could potentially have those charges dropped or reduced. A criminal defense attorney may review the case to determine whether or not the authorities followed the rules when taking the accused person into custody. If it becomes apparent that the accused person's rights were violated during the course of the investigation, the attorney may work to have the charges dropped. Otherwise, the attorney could negotiate a plea deal that would reduce the severity of the charges.

Source: The Register-Mail, "Defense moves to supress meth evidence", Robert Connelly, Aug. 31, 2017

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