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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Fort Lauderdale police officer cleared of drug-related charges

A Fort Lauderdale police officer has been cleared of the last of three drug-related charges against him. The first two felony charges were dismissed last month. The Broward County judge cited police entrapment as the reason for the dismissal of all charges. Prosecutors did not object.

The officer had been with the department for over three years when the alleged crimes occurred. He was arrested in 2011. He was charged with delivery and possession of prescription drugs after he allegedly gave drugs to a police informant.

According to testimony given prior to the trial, the officer gave the informant five prescription pills -- four Percocet and one Vicodin -- while the two were in his police vehicle. Investigators later found another Vicodin in the vehicle. His attorney argued that the pill found in his car was in an evidence bag not yet turned in because his client was "not the most organized police officer in the world."

Testimony surrounding the officer's trial indicated that there were numerous errors made by officers in the sting operation in which the informant was involved. The investigating officer allegedly failed to preserve a good deal of the evidence gathered, including information on the informant's phone.

The officer's attorney says that he and his client would like "a full investigation on how this faulty investigation and illegal investigation was conducted by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department" as well as an apology to the officer. The officer noted that nothing new was presented that wasn't known two months into the case. He said, "This could have been resolved a long time ago."

Whether the officer chooses to return to his job is still in question. However, he is seeking the wages he would have received since 2011 when he was suspended without pay. He told the press that the experience has been a financial as well as an emotional burden on him.

Many people assume that when the facts of a case come out, they will be exonerated. However, that is not always the case. Too often, justice is slow if it happens at all. That's why it's essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side to protect your rights and help ensure that the facts of the case come out.

Source: SunSentinel, "Last charge dismissed against Fort Lauderdale officer," Larry Barszewski, Dec. 18, 2015

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