Drug Defense Brainstorming

How, without putting your client on the stand, might you counter the government’s “nobody would trust another person with x dollars worth of drugs unless the other person knew he had the drugs” argument in a trial in which knowledge is at issue?

I’m looking for novel and useful approaches.


0 responses to “Drug Defense Brainstorming”

  1. Someone who doesn’t know he is carrying drugs is the only one they can trust. He doesn’t know he has anything worth stealing.

  2. Is the drug giver going to testify?

    This case is pure speculation as to your client’s mental state, damned law of parties. That makes this a difficult answer.

    My idea- It’s not the value of the drugs that is important it is the penalty. These drugs may have had monetary value, but they also carried a pretty awful negative value-incarceration.

    The drug giver knew the penalty for being caught and by handing the drugs to a mule, he was not giving away something valuable, rather he was giving away something that carried a long prison sentence.

    Drugs are not valuable until they are sold. Transporting them pre sale is all risk, no reward.

  3. Not knowing you have the drugs might serve 3 purposes. One, you are less likely to be sweating bullets and looking nervous, like Billy Hayes at the Turkish airport. Two, you might know who gave you the box but still not know the actual source of the drugs. Three, as pointed out by georgeh, you can’t steal what you don’t know you have.

  4. First thing that comes to mind: it’s a tacit admission by the Government that they have little to no direct evidence that D knew about the dope, or they wouldn’t be using that argument…

    Let me think of something better while I stay up for a while, if I can.

  5. How about: real drug dealer wants to involve someone with no knowledge so that

    (a) D won’t be able to rat him out and even maybe so that

    (b) He will have someone to rat out (that is, if he’s testifying aginst your guy)

  6. What advantage would knowledge bring? If the person’s “job” is to simply move the item from point A to B, not to actually “do” anything with the item, then there is no reason for them to know. Knowledge, as others have pointed out, just makes them dangerous, makes them more likely to steal the drugs, dump the drugs, or get scared and give themselves away.

    I carry colds all the time without knowing it, and spread them to other people through my ignorance. Once I know I have the cold, though, I take precautions (stay home and rest). So, if the drug dealer is as smart as a cold virus, he probably doesn’t let the carrier know he’s carrying anything.

  7. bill m,

    I like the analogy to a cold. That should play nice in court.

    And Mark, sounds like they feel their case is getting weak or they wouldn’t need to even mention any of this.

  8. To all of the good suggestions above, I’d consider playing off the CSI effect, adding (assuming it’s true), “They didn’t find my client’s fingerprints on the drugs or any forensic evidence linking him/her to the dope.” Also emphasize how many other people have access to the item, when, where and how.

    I like the common cold analogy, and especially jamie and robert’s suggestions. I also think georgeh is right that “someone who doesn’t know he is carrying drugs” is the only person a modern smuggler can 100% trust.

    Another analogy in the drug world: Often the captain of freighter may not be aware of the illegal contents of containers they transport. “Smuggling” may often mean transporting without the transporter’s knowledge or consent. Otherwise it would be called “shipping.”

    Suerte, amigo

  9. If I ask my neighbor to pick up my mail I’m not trusting him with the contents of the mail, I’m trusting him to not open the mail.

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