The criminal justice system can be a hard and unforgiving place, especially for police and prosecutors who are charged with a crime. Those who once held all the cards can find themselves suddenly on the other side of the interrogation room table, and be subjected to all the pressure the system can bring to bear.
A NYPD officer was arrested in a drug sting operation in South Florida last month. The man had been "cop of the year" a few years ago, but now was handcuffed and sent to jail with no bond to await his trial.
He claims he was just along for the ride with a friend who engineered a $200,000 drug deal involving 22 pounds of cocaine. His family argued for bail, with his mother putting up her home as collateral and friends offering $500,000 in other property. The judge refused bond, calling the man’s excuses "utterly ridiculous."
He said went along with the drug deal after he feared he would be shot if he tried to escape. He and the other men are now facing federal drug trafficking charges and potentially 20 or more years in prison.
Whether his claims are credible will be determined at trial, but the seriousness of the charges demand a vigorous defense. Federal prosecutors are always aggressive when dealing with drug trafficking charges, but are likely to be even more so in this case, as they attempt to "make an example of him."
While the overall direction of the war on drugs remains open for debate, there is no debate on the pressure to secure a conviction of a police officer charged with drug crimes.
Sun-sentinel.com, "NYPD ‘Cop of the Year’ facing federal drug charges in S. Florida," Paula McMahon, January 21, 2015