Since this is a criminal defense blog, we all knew that was only a matter of time before Kevin, Paul, and James have to face the music. But a lot of things must happen first.
Sarah is a new teacher at the school and her back is killing her. As she vents to a colleague about the fact that her doctor cut off her Vicodin, her colleague mentions that there is a guy from the math department who may have the hook-up. Paul sells Sarah a handful of pills. She is so excited that she speeds on the way home. An officer pulls her over. Her eyes look a little glassy and she is evasive when answering questions. So, he asks for permission to search the car. She consents, and inevitably, the officer finds the pills.
When they get downtown, the interrogator immediately offers her immunity if she rolls on her supplier. She has seen Paul around at work but is not really sure of his name. However, she is sure that she could pick him out of a lineup.
Meanwhile, Kevin’s generous pain pill physician is feeling the heat. After investigators close in, they perform an administrative inspection of the Doctor’s offices which they can do without a warrant and they discover a spreadsheet on the doctor’s laptop with names and dates of prescription transactions. Kevin’s name is on there a lot, but then again, so are a lot of other names.
Will the police soon be kicking in some doors?
How Drug Investigations Get Started
If prosecutors are ever going to make a case against Kevin and his band of merry men, they more than likely need probable cause to get a search warrant. Many criminal cases in Illinois are won or lost on procedural matters like this one.
Illinois law does not define “probable cause.” It is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion, which is basically an evidence-based hunch that something is not right. The standard is lower than beyond a reasonable doubt, mostly because there is no presumption of innocence like there is in a drug trial.
Could officers get a search warrant based on Sarah’s testimony? If they link Paul to the Vicodins, Kevin, Jaleel, and Paul could all be facing federal and state charges. But Sarah does not know Paul’s name, or at least she cannot swear to it in an affidavit, which is required in search warrant requests. So, the Sarah lead is probably a non-starter.
The police could follow Paul to work. If he goes 31mph in a 30mph zone, they can pull him over and probably put him in a lineup for Sarah. It is not illegal for police officers to use tactics like this.
What about Dr. Feelgood? Kevin bought lots of pills, which may be probable cause to search his house. But information like this has a brief shelf life. If the last transaction was more than a few days ago, there is just about zero chance that those pills are still in Kevin’s possession. Even if officers do find drugs when they search his place, the evidence is probably too weak and there was no probable cause.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
Without probable cause, the search warrant is invalid and there is no case. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.
(image courtesy of Clay Banks)