A pair of developments in the solicitation case against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft highlights how far prosecutors are willing to go to create a conviction.
Kraft's Lawyers File Motion to Exclude Video Evidence
We covered the setup for the new developments in an earlier blog: Defense attorneys for Mr. Kraft filed a motion to exclude video evidence from trial, claiming that it was obtained in a search that violated Mr. Kraft's Fourth Amendment rights. That search had been performed pursuant to a “sneak-and-peek” search warrant, which is usually reserved for felony-level offenses, not misdemeanors like the solicitation charge against Mr. Kraft.
Prosecutors Try Leaking Video to the Public
Undeterred by the motion, prosecutors at the district attorney's office said that they would release footage of Mr. Kraft and the 24 other men who were charged with solicitation to the public. Prosecutors claimed that the release would be for a pending case against the owners of the massage parlor but would depict Mr. Kraft anyway. They also claimed that they were compelled to release the footage under Florida's expansive public records law.
Mr. Kraft's lawyers, however, see the attempt to publicize the footage as an attempt to avoid a court hearing over its admissibility in court. They filed an emergency motion to block its release.
Judge Blocks Video's Release
The judge in Mr. Kraft's case ruled against the prosecutors and temporarily blocked the release of the footage until a final decision could be made. The hearing on whether to allow the footage to be distributed has been scheduled for April 29.
Prosecutors Being Prosecutors
The scene serves as an important reminder that prosecutors have one job: To convict as many people as possible on the steepest charges possible. How they get those convictions does not matter so long as they do not violate established legal rules like Brady disclosures. Wrangling them into complying with the rules is something that should not have to be done but is necessary in far too many cases.
Mr. Kraft's case also goes to show that prosecutors can get quite creative when the need arises. High-profile cases that could enhance a prosecutor's reputation as being “tough on crime” or spread his or her name in law enforcement circles provide all the incentive needed to bend the rules just a little bit more to obtain the desired conviction.
Doug Murphy: Houston's Criminal Defense Lawyer
Keeping prosecutors in line requires an experienced and forceful defense lawyer. With so much at stake – from fines to jail time to your reputation and future – bringing on the best criminal defense lawyer you can find is a crucial part of defending against an accusation that you broke the law. Relying on the prosecutor to “do the right thing” and consider evidence of your innocence can be a decision that you end up regretting.