Two former deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are facing criminal charges for allegedly planting evidence at a medical marijuana dispensary back in 2011.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the ex-deputies are charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence as a peace officer. One of the former deputies is also charged with two felony counts of perjury and one felony count of filing a false report.
These charges have been filed in relation to two arrests at a medical marijuana dispensary on August 24, 2011. According to prosecutors, the defendants filed a report that claimed they had witnessed a narcotics transaction involving a gun while patrolling West 84th Place. One of the deputies then followed the suspect into the dispensary, where he discovered two guns. Two arrests were subsequently made and charges were filed, but according to a District Attorney's Office spokesperson, the charges were later dropped.
The Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau of the LA County Sheriff's Department opened an investigation into the arrests a year later and discovered video that did not align with the deputies' report, according to prosecutors.
This case brings up an important issue regarding misconduct by law enforcement officers. Although the charges against the two men arrested back in 2011 were eventually dropped, there are situations where mishandled evidence, planted evidence, forced confessions, illegal searches and other wrongful or unlawful acts by law enforcement officers result in arrests, charges and even convictions. Law enforcement officers have an obligation to abide by the law themselves and to respect the constitutional rights of suspects and arrestees.
Police Misconduct and Your Rights
There is no question that deputies and police officers have extremely difficult jobs, finding a balance between keeping the peace and protecting others while using a reasonable amount of force and abiding by various laws and regulations. They should use common sense and their specialized training to carry out their jobs without intentionally or negligently committing wrongful acts. When law enforcement personnel make mistakes or intentionally cause harm, they may be held accountable.
At Lessem & Newstat, we are familiar with handling cases involving police misconduct, including discrimination, brutality and planting evidence. If you believe you were treated improperly or were wrongfully arrested or charged based off fabricated evidence or due to race, ethnicity or religious beliefs, call a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at our firm. We may be able to use evidence of police misconduct to have your charges dismissed, to file an appeal or to otherwise seek a positive result in your case.
The former deputies in the story above have found themselves in a serious situation, facing felony charges for their alleged wrongdoing. If you would like more information about your options and rights in such a scenario, please call today for a confidential review of your case.