State reexamining thousands of Florida drug cases after crime lab chemist accused of removing evidence

A drug scandal involving a Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist is not only a black eye for the state, it could be a major headache for prosecutors across Florida. The state is now examining all 2,600 cases since 2006 involving this chemist, accused of taking prescription pain pills and replacing them with over-the-counter medication, according to a report on News4Jax. The issue was first discovered when pills turned up missing in the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and investigators later determined that the cases were all handled by the same chemist, the television station reported. Now, all of the cases are under review and prosecutors are being notified of which cases to examine, the television station reported. All of the cases are west of Duval County, but the issue shows how fragile the cases can be in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, and how one bad apple can affect so many cases.

When drugs are found on a person in a Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, the substance is often sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine for sure whether what appears to be cocaine or hydrocodone, for example, is indeed cocaine or hydrocodone. This is done as part of proving the case, and also because there are cases where someone is selling counterfeit drugs and there’s an entirely different charge for that sort of Jacksonville Drug Crime. However, if there is no longer evidence of the drug and no way to prove that it is actually a controlled substance, would the state need to drop the charges? It brings up an interesting legal argument and makes it difficult to proceed when there is no evidence. One comparison is in a Jacksonville DUI Case when the traffic stop is not admissible into evidence. There are specific rules and procedures police must follow in Jacksonville DUI Cases and if an officer isn’t specifically trained in those procedures, mistakes can happen. And when the traffic stop is gone, there goes the state’s evidence in the case.

The same could be true in these Florida Drug Crime cases. Police say this chemist worked about 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 Florida counties. If the evidence no longer exists, the state could have a difficult time proving these cases beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people facing all types of drugs charges, and will thoroughly investigate your case to ensure as procedures and policies were followed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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