It is sheer understatement to note that an individual in Coeur d'Alene or residing elsewhere in Idaho or another part of the country faces stark challenges from many quarters when confronting the power and resources of law enforcers and prosecutors in a criminal matter.
We note on a page of our website discussing drug crime charges and defense at Palmer George & Taylor PLLC, for example, that "a prosecutor can trump up a misdemeanor drug charge into a felony charge for drug trafficking even if there is little evidence against you."
And that is the least of some defendants' worries. Imagine a scenario in which a state agent totally fabricates evidence that points to you as a criminal wrongdoer, with that false information leading to your conviction and a long prison term.
That could happen in Idaho. And, indeed, it has already happened on a frankly stunning scale in another state, leading recently to the dismissal of criminal convictions in many thousands of matters.
To be precise, more than 21,000 already obtained convictions in lower-level drug cases, with multiple prosecutors from counties across Massachusetts dropping cases regarding so-called "corrupted convictions" spurred by the actions of a single individual.
That person was a chemist working in a forensics laboratory described as having "a compulsion to overachieve, even if it meant making things up or cutting corners."
That individual's subsequent admission that she tampered with evidence for years before being discovered ultimately resulted in her serving a prison term of three years.
And now the mass dismissal of wrongful convictions obtained through her tainted evidence gathering and conclusions follows, with one news report stating that the tossed convictions comprise "perhaps the biggest ever" reversal of cases in American history.
It is unquestionably an admonitory tale, stressing the need for defense attorneys to be properly cynical regarding evidence offerings that support the conviction and punishment of clients facing drug-related and other criminal matters.
Criminal suspects in the United States are deemed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And that presumed innocence mandates in every case that offered evidence be subjected to thorough and methodical scrutiny and a demand that it be properly gathered, analyzed and presented without any compromising taint.