The credibility of a Jacksonville police officer is in serious doubt after he admitted in a court hearing he lied to a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney in a case where police destroyed key evidence. The testimony came in a hearing last week about the Jacksonville police destroying a metal pipe Duval Countycriminal defense attorneys say could have proven the attack that Robert Lewis is facing a minimum mandatory three years in prison for was, in fact, staged by the alleged victims in the case, according to a report by Action News Jacksonville. Lewis' Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys have filed motions to dismiss the charges.
Sgt. JK Lentz was asked about a phone call when the Jacksonville defense attorney called over to the evidence room. Lentz whispered to someone in the room when he found out who was calling and when the Duval defense attorney asked if the prosecutor was in the room with him, Lentz said no, the television station reported. But, on the stand, Lentz changed his story and admitted that he intentionally misled the defense attorney. Now, does that mean Lentz and the prosecutor deliberately destroyed the evidence and then conspired to cover it up? Not necessarily. But it certainly opens the door for the Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to start moving down that road in efforts to get the Duval criminal charges dropped against Lewis. Defense attorneys have a right to publicly question everything Lentz has said in this case to date. If he lied about something as small as that, what else is he lying about? It's a fine line the Jacksonville criminal defense attorney has to walk - and it would likely be ramped up more if the argument was part of a trial in front of a jury. Right now, the case is still in the pretrial phase and hearings are in front of only the judge.
The judge is expected to rule this week on the defense motion to drop the charges against Lewis. He is charged with Jacksonville aggravated assault, accused of pointing a shotgun at two men and firing in another direction. He is facing at least three years in prison if convicted, but could be sentenced to up to 20 years on the multiple charges. But defense attorneys say it was Lewis who was beaten unconscious by two men with a pipe. A forensic expert hired by the defense said the blood on the pipe indicates the attack was staged, the television station reported. But police said during the hearing last week that even though evidence is supposed to be four years old before it is destroyed, this particular pipe was mistakenly thrown away. The officer put his own credibility into question with the lie to the Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. We should know this week if a judge rules it hurt the case enough to let Lewis walk free.
If you or a loved one needs an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Aggravated Assault Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.