June 13, 2011 – Weston, FL – A day of bird watching turned into an embarrassing ordeal when Robin Brown, a 29-year-old Weston woman, was wrongfully accused of possessing marijuana.
Several news sources across the nation and even the Daily Mail of the UK have reported this story that shows just how critical the help of a criminal defense attorney is to a wrongful drug charge.
In Brown’s case, she was first suspected of marijuana possession when she was out bird-watching in March 2009. Sheriff’s Deputy Dominic Raimondi found a suspicious herb in her backpack and more inside her vehicle. A field test kit reported the 50-gram sample he took was marijuana—an inaccurate result. In reality, the herb was sage, a plant commonly used in cooking and in Brown’s case, Native American rituals.
The sage was purchased at a New Mexico gift shop for use in a ritual called “smudging” which Native Americans practice for purification. The deputy did not arrest Brown at the time of possession but sent a sample to the Broward Sheriff’s Office crime lab for a more definitive test.
Before the crime lab results were made available, Assistant State Attorney Mark Horn ordered Brown to be arrested on charges of possession. This resulted in her public arrest at her place of employment, an embarrassing ordeal for Brown and her employer. Just 3 months after the initial confrontation, she underwent a body cavity search, strip search, and spent a night in jail.
After being released and contacting a Miami criminal defense attorney, Brown learned that the sage confiscated during the initial contact with Deputy Raimondi was never tested. This was indication that a wrongful arrest case was present and Brown’s attorney demanded analysis of the herb, which was finally determined to be sage and not marijuana.
While the criminal charges against Brown for possession of marijuana were dropped, she is seeking further remedy for the embarrassing and frustrating ordeal. She has filed a civil lawsuit against the Broward State Attorney’s Office for negligence, public humiliation and malicious prosecution. The lawsuit was dismissed in January, but Brown is appealing the decision, hoping for the right to a jury trial.
Brown’s case is a classic example of the importance of having a Miami criminal defense attorney when you have been arrested for criminal charges. There are many factors that can be used to determine a wrongful arrest, but most defendants are unaware of how to do so. Your attorney can help you review the details of your arrest and determine if the charges against you were fair or if you are the victim of a wrongful arrest or criminal charge.
As a service to our clients, we often publish articles on local news events that are relevant to criminal defense cases. We do this to provide information on the benefits of having an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney on your side when you are facing criminal charges.
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