The prosecutors dropped the case before the judge even ruled on our motion to suppress. All of the charges against Gino were dismissed.
Gino was facing serious prison time if convicted.
Gino A. was trying to merge onto I-95, but another car would not let him in. That’s when Gino allegedly merged onto I-95, sped up until he was driving alongside this car, and fired two shots at the vehicle. The other driver thought he had thrown a rock at the car and kept driving. When he reached his place of work, the driver noticed there were two bullet holes in the side of the vehicle and called the police. The police ran the make and model of the car, which had a specialty plate, narrowed it down to a few suspects and arrested Gino. He then hired us to defend him.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) did a terrible job on the investigation. There were several major problems: 1) They never did a photo lineup of the suspects; 2) They never tested the inside of Gino’s car for gunshot residue. Gunshot residue is very sticky, so we argued that because Gino had cloth seats and was accused of firing the gun out of the passenger side window, testing would have shown highly concentrated amounts of the substance in that area, but FHP never did the test; 3) FHP screwed up the search warrant. They had Gino’s apartment number wrong, but instead of getting a correct search warrant, they tied Gino up and threw him on the ground while they proceeded to search his apparent without permission. While the police claimed that Gino agreed to the search, we argued that he was acquiescing to authority, not consenting to the search.
While illegally inside his apartment, police didn’t find any guns that matched the bullet fragments in the case. However they did find the empty case of a 22 Caliber Mosquito that matched the bullets. The gun was not in the case and Gino said he had sold it a couple of years prior. We had a replica of the gun made to use at trial. In deposition the victim claimed he had not made eye contact with the shooter. He had only heard minor honking and kept driving. He heard two loud bangs, and then saw Gino with his hand being lowered. He did not see a firearm in his hand. But the replica showed it would have been impossible not to see a gun of that size in his hand. We then filed a motion to suppress all of the evidence found through this illegal search.
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