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What Methods Do Attorneys Use To Prove Guilt Or Innocence In Drug Cases?
First and foremost, a defense attorney never assumes the burden of proof – the state attorney must prove guilt beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. The types of defenses are admissibility of evidence, suppression of evidence, testimonial hearsay issues, non-testimonial hearsay issues, search and seizure issues, 5th and 6th amendment issues, improper detention issues, Terry v. Ohio issues, Discovery issues . . . have you got all day? That’s not even close to a fraction of the checklist a specialist goes through in a drug case. These defenses take weeks and months to uncover, but everybody wants to explain their side of what happened and immediately ask me how it looks. It looks bad, for crying out loud – someone just got arrested! The truth is, I won’t have definite answers for quite a while.
How Do You Use Brain Imaging in Drug Cases?
The attorney will have their client brain imaged and compare the images side by side. The judge does not need an advanced degree in nuclear medicine imaging, he does not need that at all because the difference between the images is so obvious, it is like comparing an apple to a stick. They are able to show that a person has a mental disorder because they have a physical disability, the brain is not functioning correctly and they can show this and prove it.
When it comes to not related to substance abuse or alcohol, the doctors have done this for decades, that they can look at these images and they can say, “What appears to be holes on this image here in the brain, that’s exposures to toxic substances. I cannot rule out that the defendant’s drinking or drug use didn’t cause that. In fact, it’s very common that when people use drugs or alcohol that they have this kind of a pattern in the surface of the brain”. Many attorneys would be thinking, “Oh, well, that excludes that person from being able to get that departure”. It is not true because that same doctor is going to point to other areas of the brain and say, “Over here where we see the thalamus or the singular gyrus and it’s overactive,” the doctor can say with certainty, “These types of problems are not caused by drugs or alcohol.”
In such cases, the attorneys are able to actually visually show the judge evidence, back it up with expert testimony and establish that the person does, in fact, have a brain disorder, and mental health problems. That is number one.
Number two, attorneys have to show that they need specialized treatment at the time it is not found in the prison system, but it is also not found in lockdown units either and inpatient mental hospitals. But that is not what attorneys are looking for either. Virtually, every client gets outpatient treatment except for a few exceptions. They may have had an inpatient component such as a period of time in a specific type of drug rehabilitation facility as part of their treatment but even that is rare and most have outpatient treatments.
The types of treatment plans that are created by the clinic used by the Cobb law office fills a three-ring binder. They are very involved; they are custom tailored for that person. One chief complaint about Drug Court is the one size fits all nature of it. Failure of Drug Court is often talked about. These are custom tailored personalized medical evaluations with customized, personalized treatment plan.
The third thing that has to be shown is the client is willing to undergo treatment. That is how attorneys are able to get around point based mandatory sentences in Florida. It is very creative. No other law firm uses brain imaging the way Cobb law firm does, and when they do, they are able to kill two birds with one stone. This not only helps the person with the legal problem, but quite often this is someone who is sitting there going, “My God in heaven, why can I not stop drinking?” and they have been drinking for years.
Attorney Stephen Cobb once represented a client on his fourth DUI. Three weeks later, the guy had a rollover accident, which was his fifth DUI. They had his brain imaged and sure enough, they were able to take the images. Cobb talked to the doctor personally who worked with them. He studied the image and pointed at a white spot. The doctor said, “That right there is probably why your client drinks”. The client had a remarkable recovery. They gave him treatment for that particular area of his brain and several other areas. Sometime later, he completely lost his desire to drink, which is mind blowing but that has happened more than once.
What Areas Of The Brain Can Cause Drug Addiction?
People have areas of their brain that are overactive or underactive. Since they are feeling anxious, depressed maybe upset, when people have emotional pain that is like having physical pain as well. When somebody has physical pain, they want to take something to feel better. Whether it is an ibuprofen, an aspirin or the mother-in-law of OxyContin they really should stay off this medication, they want the pain to go away though. With psychic pain, it is no different. It is just like physical pain. Therefore, when people have these imbalances of the brain, if you see on the surface, the scan of the brain, the area right above the eyes, an area called the inferior orbital or the prefrontal cortex , it looks like that person has holes there, that is in the area of executive functioning. That is where you find problems.
Some of these problems could be such as attention deficit disorder, that is where you find people who may not want to smoke pot, they would never drink, heroin is something that does not interest them, pills of any kind, coke or meth, crack, absolutely, Adderall used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. Why is that person gravitating towards those types of drugs? Because they have the disorder, the stimulants they are able to confirm that by using the brain imaging. If you see someone else and you look at their left temporal lobe, you may see a piece missing, and say, “It looks like this person is missing a part or their brain.” However, in reality, that person could be a subject to rage. In fact, the temporal lobe had an impact trauma and that is why that person had a history of domestic violence.
The more we look at these things, the more we find that when people have a true substance abuse problem. This is different from somebody who smokes a joint once every three months, they got caught one day and the legal system presumes they have a substance abuse problem that is nonsense. It is not true. That is what politicians and the legal system believe and how we are supposed to operate within the system. However, the reality is when people have these types of cravings for these types of drugs, every single time we scan their brains and find out why they have those problems. That is the funniest thing in the world, crime is a medical problem.
Attorney Stephen Cobb discusses some of the Methods Attorneys Use to Prove Guilt or Innocence in Drug Cases in Florida. For more information, call Attorney Stephen G. Cobb of the Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm in Florida for a FREE Initial Consultation at (850) 466-1522 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.