Former Fort Deposit, Ala., police officer Carlos Tyson Bennett was sentenced to 37 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $500 in restitution for stealing money from motorists during traffic stops, with another former Fort Deposit police officer, Jessie Alan Fuller, on Interstate 65 in 2009. Bennett admitted that he and Fuller conspired to pull over vehicles under the guise of legitimate law enforcement activity and to steal cash from drivers and passengers in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. A seizure of property occurs when there is “some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in that property”, such as when police officers take personal property away from an owner to use as evidence.
An unreasonable search and seizure in Jacksonville can take place in a number of ways, and can be seen in a variety of locations, including homes, cars, RVs, and boats. There are different search and seizure standards that apply to each, making the location and what was being searched very crucial to one’s defense. Sometimes, accused parties may being using an RV or houseboat as a permanent home, changing the standards of privacy that the searching law enforcement officer must abide by.
If an individual gives consent to a search, a warrant is not required, even if the party is unaware of their right to refuse to cooperate. There are exceptions and complications to the rule, including the scope of the consent given, whether the consent is voluntarily given, and whether an individual has the right to consent to a search of another’s property.
Law enforcement officers sometimes make citizens feel overwhelmed and scared, making one think that one must consent to a search. This is not the case. One has rights. A police officer must have probable cause to search one’s property, be it a house, car or otherwise, without a warrant. If the officer has obtained a search warrant, that search warrant must be appropriately signed by a Judge with the correct information of the items or places to be searched and the reason for the search.
Sometimes, law enforcement officers will betray the public trust and try to illegally benefit from positions of authority by committing acts of wrongdoing against the very citizens they are hired to protect. For many citizens in Jacksonville, this police misconduct may be in the form of theft, planting of drugs by police, illegal searches and seizures, and police brutality. Whatever the case may be, one needs to ensure that one has an experienced attorney who is committed to defending one’s freedom and proving law enforcement abuse of authority in violating the Constitution.
In many cases of police misconduct, law enforcement officers will attempt to cover up their crime in a number of ways, including falsely increasing the severity of the criminal charges against the victim of their excessive force. Both Bennett and Fuller admitted to this attempt. One involved in a situation like this should not delay in obtaining an experienced Jacksonville police misconduct defense attorney to fight the case and ensure that one does not suffer at the hands of a powerful State-operated legal system.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Second Fort Deposit, Ala., Officer Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Federal Civil Rights Violations in Connection with Thefts on Highway The United States Department of Justice