State v. J.F.; Case No.: 562020CF001006 (St. Lucie County)
Drug and Narcotics Charges
Fort Pierce Police Department
Our client was a visitor at a home located in St. Lucie County when a search warrant was executed upon the home. Cocaine was found near our client in the same room he was located in. Our client admitted that he was watching the cocaine for a friend while his friend ran an errand. Due to his admission to constructive possession, he was placed under arrest for possession of cocaine. Upon the hiring of our criminal defense firm, we immediately began our own investigation into the execution of the search warrant and the arrest of our client. After reviewing all discovery materials and requesting body worn camera footage, we quickly realized our client was unlawfully arrested. The home our client was visiting was listed in a search warrant and the execution of the search warrant incidentally took place the day our client was there. Our client was not a target in the search warrant application, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone located in the home was taken into temporary custody and read their Miranda rights en masse. Our clients arrest affidavit misrepresented that our client understood his Miranda rights. Our client did not understand them nor did he waive any of those rights prior to being interrogated. Based on the body worn camera footage, we discovered the police used deception to coerce answers from our client. Our client sat in handcuffs for 45 minutes before being questioned. Only after the prolonged de facto arrest did our client make coerced inculpatory statements admitting to the constructive possession of the cocaine found near him. The de facto arrest occurred without probable cause and a reading of Miranda warning en masse does not elicit a waiver of those rights. We filed a Motion to Suppress to make these arguments before the court. Before the hearing, the state decided to drop our client’s charge of Possession of Cocaine and a Nolle Prosequi was filed.