Dr. John Habib, an asthesiologist at Holy Cross Hospital, was arrested Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to police, Dr. Habib was busted when he tried to purchase 35 grams of Crystal Methamphetamine from a person he believed to be a drug dealer. It is not clear if this person was an undercover cop or someone working for the police by posing as a drug dealer.
After arresting Habib, police executed a search warrant at his home which allegedly uncovered additional crystal meth as well as GHB. According to CBS4.com, Habib has been as charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of GHB.
The worst part of Dr. Habib’s case is the trafficking charge. Because he is accused of trafficking more than 28 grams, but less than 200 grams, Dr. Habib is presently subject to a minimum prison sentence of 7 years. Of course, this assumes Dr. Habib does not have any prior criminal history. If he does, he may be subjected to an even greater minimum prison sentence.
On the maximum end, Dr. Habib is facing a maximum of 30 years on the trafficking charge and 5 years each on the possession charges.
While this case is undoubtedly very serious, Dr. Habib should not feel hopeless. Many cases of these types are cracked wide open when a capable defense lawyer does a thorough investigation. Many cases are broken when a lawyer discovers that police acted inappropriately or violated the law. Moreover, in cases where the defendant has no criminal history, one has to wonder if there is a defense of entrapment.
Additionally, a capable defense lawyer absolutely MUST investigate the basis for the search warrant. This type of research would begin with a careful review of the affidavits and other documents presented when applying for the search warrant. Next, a investigation into whether the warrant was properly executed is also necessary. For example, if the warrant directed the police to search the living areas of Dr. Habib’s house, but the additional drugs were found in the attic, then the police may have acted outside the limitations of the warrant – thus rendering any evidence collected from the attic inadmissible.
Regardless, the two parts of this case that interest me the most are the following: First, how did the police come to learn that Dr. Habib wanted to buy drugs? Was it from a snitch trying to set up anyone he can think of to save himself from his own case? Or was it from some other unknown source? I bet it was a snitch.
Second, what exactly went down during that sting? The devil does live in the details! How did the deal go down? Was the snitch the seller or was it a cop? If it was a snitch, did the police observe the entire deal from beginning to end? Did they search the snitch before sending him to make the sale? If not, how do we know the true amount Dr. Habib tried to buy? Maybe he only wanted to buy a small amount, but the snitch added to the mix, without the doctor knowing, to make the caper even sweeter for police.
I could sit here and write for hours about all the little details that make a difference in these cases. However, at the end of the day, Dr. Habib should not give up hope and he should not assume that prison is the only option in his future.
Now is the time for a quality defense lawyer to investigate this case, look at its details and determine if there are any defenses, any lack of evidence, any conflict in the evidence, or any violations of law by the police.
Now is the time to be aggressive. Hopefully Dr. Habib will make the right choice and take an aggressive stance on his case.