You’ve likely heard about people getting charges dropped on a “technicality”. These “technicalities” are often there to protect the rights of the people. Because we live in a country that presumes innocence until guilt is proven (ideally), these technicalities help ensure little is overlooked and nothing is taken for granted in the criminal justice process.
Recently the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a Trial Court’s decision to suppress evidence that was seized in a search that may not have been consented to. In most cases, when the police ask to search your property you must give consent for them to do so when there isn’t a warrant present.
In the case of State v. Holloway consent was not clearly given and the State was barred from presenting evidence found in the search. What happened on the date of arrest was two officers were dispatched to a location where drug sales were suspected of taking place. The officers found a man and woman outside and the woman agreed to let the officer’s search her home, where they found nothing.
The officer’s then wanted to search a vehicle parked in the driveway and this is where the consent issue comes into play. The vehicle was owned by the woman but regularly driven by Quantellius Holloway. She, therefore, was the person who had to give consent. The officer’s were only able to say the woman “pretty much” consented to the search of her vehicle where the officers found cocaine.
Mr. Holloway was ultimately charged with drug trafficking. Holloway challenged the evidence by saying he did not consent to the search and the woman’s consent was not voluntary. The Court of Appeals felt that the trial court was correct in suppressing the evidence due to vague testimony by the officer involved.
This is how the system is supposed to work. Officers are trained in court procedures and vague statements don’t go over well as fact when presented to a judge. Saying someone “pretty much” gave up their right to be free from searches is not good enough for consent. A technicality to some is a prime example of the great foundation of our sometimes broken criminal justice system.
An experienced Georgia defense attorney knows when to challenge evidence submitted by the prosecution and has their clients’ interests in mind at all times.