Wayne McDarman Hill, 42, of Miami, Florida, was arrested for allegedly trafficking in ecstasy. According to news reports, law enforcement seized approximately 40,000 ecstasy pills.
Police claim that Hill operated a “pill pipeline” between Miami and Canada. The fact that the pills were allegedly found inside of Hill’s vehicle presents a number of very important questions.
Hill’s defense lawyers will need to first determine why police searched Hill’s car? Was he caught selling to or buying from an undercover agent? Was he stopped for a traffic infraction? Or, did an overly zealous investigator conduct a “pre-textual” stop?
If law enforcement conducted an illegal stop or illegal search of Hill’s vehicle, then any evidence obtained as a result must be thrown out by the trial judge. This would have the effect of completely destroying the Government’s case.
Illegal searches can take many forms. Even if law enforcement had a search warrant, that doesn’t mean the warrant was properly issued by a judge or properly executed by law enforcement. For example, if the application for search warrant was based on stale information, the warrant was issued in error. Likewise, if a search was conducted using a stale warrant, then any evidence seized must be excluded by the trial judge.
There are scores and scores of different variations where a defendant’s constitutional rights may effect the admissibility of evidence in a criminal case. Hill should realize that he may benefit from exercising some of his rights.
Believe it or not, law enforcement officers make critical legal mistakes all the time.
The point here is that nothing can be taken granted or assumed in criminal case. Every aspect of Hill’s case must be scrutinized by defense lawyers. Possible defenses lurk at every corner. Even when a case can’t be beat entirely, it may still be possible to improve on what is presently a very difficult situation.
Given the quantity of ecstasy involved, Hill will most definitely be facing a very hefty minimum mandatory sentence. For that reason, he would benefit greatly by hiring an aggressive defense lawyer that knows how to crack these cases.
As a criminal defense attorney, I find this case very interesting and suspect it may present many opportunities for substantial defense. There are no guarantees in this business, but knowing where to look for clues makes all the difference.