Monday, April 4, 2011

Has the Plantation Cops federal mortgage fraud trial officially turned into a circus?


As each day of testimony unfolds during the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud trial a seemingly slam dunk case for the government seems to be evolving into a steaming pile of shit.  The newest and most startling revelation is the admission by defendant and cooperating government witness Rene Rodriguez regarding the destruction of his mortgage companies files, we learn about the destruction of the files and computers through this court order...

Plantation cops federal mortgage fraud trial judges order on spoilation of evidence

There are a number of disturbing facts included in this court order, let's break it down...
  1. Mr. Rodriguez has been cooperating with the government since April 2009 and plea out in September 2009, a full year before anyone was indicted!
  2. Unbeknownst to the prosecution or the government agents handling Mr. Rodriguez, all of Mr. Rodriguez's mortgage company's files and computers are destroyed.
  3. The prosecution as of October 25, 2010 stated that they had all the records from Mr. Rodriguez's company (including computers) in it's possession and that they had turned over everything that the defense had been entitled to.
  4. Mr. Rodriguez informs the government on January 11, 2011 that he had destroyed his records and computers that contained evidence that was favorable to the defense.
YIKES!  How screwed up is that?  How can the defendants properly defend themselves when there's been exculpatory materials that have been destroyed by a cooperating government witness?  How could the agents handling Mr. Rodriguez let something of this magnitude occur?  Imagine how bad the prosecutors must look right now considering the representations that had made to the court?  Let's see what the judge thinks about this...
The government was, however, grossly negligent and careless in fulfilling its obligations established by statute, rule, order and case law.  The government breached its affirmative duties to produce documents and other pertinent information.
At least the judge understands the gravity of the situation, I have to wonder, what will a jury think?  The judge goes on to ask...
The question is, what is the appropriate sanction.
While the judge thinks the appropriate sanction is a jury instruction informing the jurors that there may have been evidence favorable to the defendants that was destroyed, I beg to differ.  I think the appropriate action for the judge to have taken would have been to end this trial and dismiss the charges against these poor guys then go after the cooperating witnesses that put the government in this untenable position and prosecute them for the actions which in my opinion dealt a lethal blow to the governments case.

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