Can my sons case be thrown out if his fingerprints were not at the scene of the crime? 30 Answers as of June 10, 2013

My son was arrested by a Sheriff, who obtained an arrest warrant, signed by a judge based on fingerprints obtained at a crime seen. The Sheriff told the judge the fingerprints would match my son. No fingerprints matched my son from the crime scene, the sheriff admitted to this during the trial. Should this case be thrown out, based on an arrest where a Sheriff had lied about fingerprints?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
It is very hard to second guess the case at this point, based on the facts you present here. I can say that based on what you say here, I would have filed a motion to suppress the evidence if this had been known before hand. If it is only learned at the trial, was there a motion to dismiss or continue the case? Was there an offer of proof? Assuming the trial is over, was he convicted? If so, has the time line for appeal passed? The court does not "throw out cases" the proper method of handling this is to suppress the evidence, or ask for a new trial based upon newly discovered evidence and suppress the evidence prior to the new trial so that the DA will dismiss the charge.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/18/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
It appears that there was a trial in your case. Therefore, you are now at the appeal stage, assuming that your son did not win at trial. Your attorney should have raised these issues at trial. If there was a conviction, there must have been other evidence or statements in your case. You should have this case reviewed for appeal purposes. If you need an attorney to review the case for appeal, yo may contact this office for an appointment. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/16/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
Not necessarily if there was other evidence that placed him at the scene, such as eyewitness testimony, statements or admissions by your son, photos, etc. No single bit of evidence is required to find that someone was at the scene of a crime. A search warrant is issued based on probable cause, not absolute certainty. The officer was wrong about fingerprints, but in for the DA to proceed there must have been other evidence of your son's presence.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/16/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
If this was the only evidence used to build the case against your son then it is unlikely that he will be convicted. While it is possible that the case might be thrown out, it may also be the case that the judge will just find your son not guilty and resolve the issue.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 5/16/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
It is clearly a basis for appeal if your son was convicted at trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You may be able to get the the charges dropped, but it would be advisable to consult with an attorney who has access to the documents and evidence of the case.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If the fingerprint evidence is the only matter connecting your son to the crime, then he stands a good chance of having the case dismissed. However, if the prosecution has more evidence connecting him to the crime, or there is a reason why he should be prosecuted further, the mere absence of fingerprints is not essential to convict. My advice is retain an attorney who can obtain all the evidence from the prosecutor, and make an informed decision on how to proceed. Perhaps a motion to suppress evidence would prevail, but without further evidence to review, I would not say that you, at this time, will have the case dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    That would depend on what other evidence the DA has to link your son to the crime. Just because the search warrant failed to produce any evidence and the Sheriff who applied for the warrant thought he would find prints or other evidence, that alone will not be grounds for a dismissal. Call for a consultation anytime.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    It's not that simple. If may argued that your son wore gloves or rubbed down his prints. That said, the officer can certainly be discredited as a witness. There's a small chance the prosecutor would agree to dismiss the case in the interest of justice because of the officer's fraudulent warrant application. You should have your attorney look at RPC 3.8 Special Duties of a Prosecutor. Your son may be able to move to dismiss the case based on the misconduct of the officer; especially if the assigned prosecutor failed to disclose the lie and or correct it with the court. I would expect that I could have a come to Jesus talk with the prosecutor about his or her responsibility to seek justice and emphasize that illegally-obtained evidence shows that it would be an injustice to proceed with trial. Depending on where you are in the proceedings, I may be able to derail the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The case cannot be thrown out merely on account of fingerprints not matching your son's found at the scene, even though the officer was not truthful about the information provided to obtain an arrest warrant. The Court would be bound to view all of the evidence introduced at trial, including the false information given by law enforcement.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If your son went to trial then there had to be other evidence to convict him. If he Has not been convicted contact me with more facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Can it? Sure, anything is possible. Will it? Obviously not, you mentioned a trial going on. He may or may not be convicted, but that depends upon what happens at trial with all the evidence and motions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    The case could be thrown out but if there is other evidence implicating your son then the case can proceed. You should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Hard for me to answer this without knowing more about the case and the evidence against your son.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    A case does not get dismissed just because fingerprints are not available to prove the crime. Nor does it get thrown out if the Sheriff used fingerprints as a basis for the original arrest - unless that renders the arrest insufficient and the police developed some other proof based upon the bogus arrest. I strongly suggest you hire the best criminal lawyer nearby and fight that case strenuously. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    You can certainly argue that the evidence is due to be suppressed due to a lack of probable cause to support the warrant under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    I doubt that the case will be thrown out with a lack of fingerprints, a lot depends on any other evidence. The sheriff word was simply wrong and may be grounds for getting the arrest warrant tossed. You need to raise these issues with the Childs attorney or hire a good criminal lawyer to fight the case. I do this for a living and would be happy to talk with you about the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Before an accurate answer can be given to this question, I would have to review the complaint used for the arrest warrant and the police report itself. The fingerprints may be just one part of the evidence in this case. However, if there was no probable cause for the arrest in the first place, a motion to quash may be appropriate. Such a motion would have to be filed in advance of trial. For more information, contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I am a former state and federal prosecutor. Currently, I am a criminal defense attorney. You raise a very interesting issue; however, I would need more of the facts and the procedural posture of the case. If he doesn't have an attorney, it is imperative that he retain one as soon as possible. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The case sounds fact dependent and I cannot give an answer without more information. If your son is in trial I assume he has an attorney. There is a lot of case law dealing with warrants and the requirements.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It depends on the situation and I would need more details to assess accurately. Do they claim on having additional evidence against your son other than fingerprints?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2013
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    If an arrest warrant was obtained by fraud, or mistake, then the arrest, and all evidence obtained pursuant to that illegal arrest, must be suppressed under the "fruits of the poisonous tree" doctrine. However, even if the arrest is illegal, and all evidence obtained pursuant to the illegal arrest, such as a confession, has been suppressed, the case may still move forward if there exist independent evidence linking the defendant to the crime. If that evidence is sufficient, such as an independent witness to the crime, the case can proceed.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    No. Evidence can be suppressed if it was obtained by police misconduct, so if the police search illegally, evidence can be excluded. If your son made statements to the police, or if other evidence was discovered as a result of his arrest, the evidence could be excluded if the arrest was illegal. But suppressing evidence isn't the same as dismissing the charges altogether. (Sometimes suppression leads to dismissal, but that's when the suppressed evidence is the entire state's case, like the drugs in a drug prosecution.) If there was independent evidence to convict your son, the illegal arrest won't make any difference.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Although the case probably won't be automatically dismissed, your son's attorney should have quite a bit of ammunition to use against the state. He or she can file a motion to dismiss the arrest warrant and if the judge doesn't grant that, the attorney probably has a lot to argue about to the jury regarding this lying cop who lied to the judge and lied about... well you've got the idea.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    There is no way to give an answer to this without knowing a whole lot more detail. It will depend on what kind of charge the case is about and what other evidence they have that would indicate your son was guilty of the offense. I highly doubt a prosecutor would take a case to trial if there only evidence was fingerprints and they turned out not to be a match. There must be something else here and without more information, there is no way to give a clear answer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The lack of finger prints does not mean someone was not there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    No, it doesn't seem like that will amount to a complete dismissal of the charges. Is it fantastic evidence on your son's behalf? Absolutely. If they clearly have an item that should, based on the facts of the case, have the true crook's fingerprints on it - and there are prints, but they do NOT match your son..... sounds like a lot of reasonable doubt to me and a not guilty verdict. That's based on this single piece of evidence, though. The entire case will have to be reviewed so this information can be considered in light of all other evidence in the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
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