There are multiple types of evidence that may be commonly used in Maryland federal drug cases. Evidence plays an important role in swaying the outcome of a case. A Maryland federal drug lawyer can anticipate the types of evidence that might be used in a federal drug case and find the appropriate methods of refuting that evidence.
Chain of custody of evidence is not often at issue in drug cases unless there is a question about tampering of evidence during the course of a case. For example, if the judge was convinced that when evidence was moved from one point to another it was not in the same condition as it was when it left the scene of the incident, that might be an important chain of custody issue to raise at trial.
Chain of custody issues are more commonly found with something like fingerprints or DNA where something moves from one place to another to be analyzed. In these situations the general composition of the evidence could change as it moves from the first place to the second place. In cases where DNA, blood, or fingerprint evidence is removed from the scene to be analyzed, it might be contaminated. This is when chain of custody is extremely important.
Wiretapping evidence is used in Maryland federal drug cases particularly when someone is investigated for a long time and the government is putting a case together based on conversations the person had with someone else. Those conversations might be indicative of that person’s drug activity or other criminal activity.
The best way to refute this kind of evidence is to challenge in court how those wiretaps were initially approved. To conduct a wiretap or to monitor people’s phone calls, there must be a warrant, as is the case with any other search or seizure.
A warrant gives permission to federal law enforcement officials to monitor or listen in on phone conversations. Without a warrant, the government’s information received through a wiretap is suppressed. Any further investigation they conducted is considered illegal and no longer admissible.
Eye witness testimony is difficult to refute because it requires a Maryland federal drug attorney to challenge what someone saw. The best way to challenge eye witness testimony is to address some kind of bias the person had or challenge their ability to recollect what they claim they saw.
For example, an attorney might ask what capacity the eye witness was in at the time. Were they on drugs? Were they under the influence of alcohol? Were they taking any medications at the time that might have effected their ability to recall things or caused them to hallucinate in some way, such that it would be a factor in their credibility?
Other issues that might be raised during the course of an evaluation of an eye witness in a federal drug case are related to their bias. Could they in some way benefit from the testimony they are giving in court? Can their testimony be relied upon based on the benefit they stand to receive?
There are opportunities to challenge eye witnesses. They can be difficult to detect, but with the right amount of investigation, if there’s something to find, an attorney can find it.
Document-based evidence can be used in federal drug cases as well, particularly with warrants and applications for warrants. Those are documents presented to the judge at some point during the course of the investigation to outline the basis for the request for a warrant or a wiretap. How that information plays out in court depends on the case and whether those warrants and wiretaps were properly acquired.