Imagine you are driving home from a friend’s house. You were hanging out with friends, having a good time. Nothing too crazy. It is about three o’clock in the morning and on the way home you stop off at White Castle to pick up some sliders. After getting your take-out order, you turn onto a road and stop at a red light. While stopped at this red light a vehicle, with similar qualities to your own, speeds past you – going well over 100 mph and blowing right through the red light that you are stopped at.
You look in your rear-view mirror and you spot a police officer with his overhead lights on. But the officer has stopped – he isn’t chasing the speeding vehicle. Instead, the officer is a block away, parked on the side of the road – not approaching, just sitting there with his lights on. You don’t think much of it and when the light turns green you step on the gas and proceed home.
At the next red light you stop again. And as you look in your rear-view mirror, you see that the officer still has his overhead lights on and is shadowing you. The officer isn’t getting any closer – but isn’t getting any further away either. At this point you are no doubt confused. “That guy just sped past me and went though a red light, but the police aren’t chasing him? Are they following me? What did I do wrong?”
You drive cautiously for the next few blocks. Not speeding, stopping at every light, never accelerating quickly. Yet, the officer continues to shadow you for miles – although never actually approaching. Finally, three police cars speed up behind you with lights and sirens blazing. You know that you didn’t do anything wrong. They must be chasing the other guy. So you pull over to the side of the road. But the police maintain a safe distance, even after you have stopped. Now you are extremely confused. You don’t know what to do. But its three o’clock in the morning and you are tired and just want to go home. So instead of sitting on the side of the road trying to figure out what is happening, you apply the gas and start moving again – going maybe 15 mph. And that’s when it happens: 2 police cars smash you on the left and right sides of your vehicle. You immediately hit the brakes and come to a stop. And before you can get out of your car and ask “what the hell is going on?” you are dragged from your vehicle and a half-a-dozen police officers have their handguns aimed at your head.
These are the facts of a case that I will be wrapping up early next week. A Dearborn Heights police officer was chasing a vehicle for miles and lost sight of the vehicle. Instead of just admitting that he had lost sight of the vehicle, he happened upon my client, who was driving a car similar to the one that he was chasing. And in that instant, that officer decided that my client was the one he had been chasing.
The prosecutor at the examination refused to view the facts objectively, instead choosing to take the officer’s word that he had not lost sight of the vehicle.
Luckily, once down in Circuit Court, I was able to spend some quality time discussing the case with the trial prosecutor. Upon a review of the facts, the video and my client’s polygraph results, she looked at me and said “this makes no sense. Your client has no priors, has a good job, was driving a different vehicle than the one originally witnessed leaving the scene of a crime and led police on an 8 mile chase before stopping at White Castle and then stopping at a random red light?” I responded that such was the contention of the police officer. Later that same day, the prosecutor emailed me offering a dismissal of the felony. Our client couldn’t have been happier. Chalk up another dismissal for Neil Rockind, P.C.
Neil Rockind, P.C. is a criminal defense and medical marijuana defense trial firm. Our lawyers, Neil Rockind and Colin Daniels, are acknowledged as two (2) of the most aggressive and determined criminal defense trial lawyers in Michigan. Visit us at www.rockindlaw.com, www.michiganmedicalmarijuanalawyers.com and www.neilrockindpcblog.com.