A recent case against one Maryland man shows how important it is to wear your seatbelt while driving. Mr. C. was pulled over by officers in Dec. of 2007 because they spotted that he wasn’t wearing his safety belt. What started out as a minor traffic violation, however, quickly escalated into something bigger, and the suspect now sits in jail for life.
The details surrounding the Baltimore case bring up various complexities. How long should it take for officers to pull over and issue a traffic citation? At what point in time does police procedure seem suspicious regarding the lack of wearing a seatbelt? Those questions are important because new incriminating evidence against the suspect came up while the police had him pulled over, evidence of a homicide.
Officers pulled Mr. C. over at around 12:30 p.m. for the traffic citation. More than 20 minutes after pulling him over, a description of a suspect and a recent shooting in the area were reported over the officers’ radio. Mr. C. fit the description of the suspect described over the radio, so police searched his car for evidence of the violent crime. They found a gun in Mr. C.’s vehicle.
As the Baltimore Sun puts it, this case proves that “timing is indeed everything” when it comes to the law. It often means the difference between winning and losing a case. Mr. C.’s defense attorney was able to get the gun prohibited as evidence in the trial. He argued, and the judge agreed, that the amount of time that the officers had Mr. C. pulled over based on a traffic violation was suspicious and that finding the gun, therefore, was the result of unethical legal procedure.
If Mr. C. had only been wiser and not confessed to the shooting while he was in jail, then the prosecution would have had a truly tough time in court. According to sources, Mr. C. told an inmate that he was responsible for the homicide. A judge ruled that the confession was valid for court purposes because enough time had elapsed since police unethically searched his car. The judge believed that the confession was in no way connected to any wrongdoing by the officers involved in the case.
Mr. C. is now serving life in prison for murder.
The Baltimore Sun: “Timing is Everything as Conviction Stands,” Peter Hermann, 24 Sept. 2010
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