Former Miami Police Sgt. Raul Iglesias, convicted of two counts of civil rights violations, along with conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, will serve four years in federal prison after his conviction for stealing drugs from traffickers, planting cocaine on suspects and lying to federal agents.
Iglesias, a former U.S. Marine, as a rogue sergeant who over the course of five months in 2010 planted cocaine on a suspect, stole drugs and money from dope dealers, and lied about a box of money left in an abandoned car as part of an FBI sting. Iglesias refused to take responsibility for his actions, blaming other cops and after his conviction engaging in a letter-writing “smear” campaign against those who testified against him.
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, police misconduct may be in the form of theft, planting of drugs by police, illegal searches and seizures, and police brutality. When a police officer gets in trouble with the law, the consequences can be much more severe than for the average citizen. Most are not sure what one should do when a police officer violates their Constitutional rights, as the time and evidence one has to prove one’s innocence and the officer’s misconduct starts disappearing.
Law enforcement generally have broad powers to carry out their duties. The Constitution and other laws, however, place limits on how far police can go in trying to enforce the law. As many recent cases illustrated, police officers sometimes go too far, violating the rights of citizens. Under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the primary civil rights law victims of police misconduct rely upon, makes it unlawful for anyone acting under the authority of state law to deprive another person of his or her rights under the Constitution or federal law. The most common claims brought against police officers under this statute are false arrest (or false imprisonment), malicious prosecution, and use of excessive or unreasonable force. Civil rights laws allow attorney fees and compensatory and punitive damages as incentives for injured parties to enforce their rights.
Defense attorneys representing a police officer for any of these claims will raise a defense of qualified immunity. This defense exists to prevent the fear of legal prosecution from inhibiting a police officer from enforcing the law. The defense will defeat a claim against the officer if the officer’s conduct did not violate a clearly established constitutional or statutory right. In other words, the specific acts the officer prevented the individual from engaging in must be legally protected, otherwise there is no civil rights violation. In order to win a civil rights claim, an individual bringing a police misconduct claim must prove that the actions of the police exceeded reasonable bounds, infringed the victim’s constitutional rights, and produced some injury or damages to the victim.
When law enforcement officers make up lies or plant evidence, they sometimes are required to create new and bigger lies in order to cover up the original deception. Police officers handle a lot of cases, and as time passes, these deceptive officers’ memory will betray them, not recalling their original statements. Their initial report says one thing. But five months later in deposition, they say another thing. An experienced attorney would use these inconsistent statements to impeach cops’ testimonies during trial and pre-trial hearings. Even better, sometimes a deposition transcript showing a cop’s inconsistencies can be used to get the state to offer a great plea or even drop the case.
Whatever the form of police misconduct one’s case may involve, one involved in a situation like this should not delay in obtaining an experienced Jacksonville police misconduct defense attorney who is committed to defending one’s freedom and proving law enforcement abuse of authority in violating the Constitution.
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: Miami officer gets 4 years in drug-related case, David Ovalle, The Miami Herald