how can we get information important to defense such as copy of 911 dispatch

the officer in charge stated that he arrived at 11:40 to a tip of meth lab in progress,but we have proof that he was at house at 10:35. he also stated that he was allowed in the house and saw paraphanalia in plain sight then was instructed to leave house by tennant at which time he handcuffed the girl and had his officers go through entire house while he supposedley went for search warrant that appears tobe forged with judges signature and we are told we can not get 911 dispatch tape or handwriting analyst to check signatures

Asked on May 28, 2009 under Criminal Law, Missouri


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Who told you that you cannot get the 911 dispatch tape or a handwriting analyst?  Your attorney should do the following:  First, he or she should be able to hire a handwriting expert to analyze the signatures and generate a report.  As long as this is done directly between the attorney and the expert, the attorney-client privilege should protect the findings contained in the report.  If they are favorable, your attorney may want to disclose them to the prosector and/or have the expert testify at a suppression hearing and/or trial.

With respect to the 911 dispatch tapes, you should also be able to obtain them in one of two ways.  First, your attorney could submit a Freedom of Information Act request (FOI request) to the police department.  Pursuant to the FOI, the police department would be required to disclose them.  Moreover, pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, the prosecuting authority should also be required to turn over any potentially exculpatory information to your attorney.  Therefore, if the prosecutor fails to turn them over, or claims that they have been destroyed, this may be a basis for your attorney to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

Finally, if you have proof that the officer omitted important information from the arrest and/or search warrant affidavits, your attorney may also be able to file something called a "Franks" motion, which is a motion to dismiss based upon the theory that the police left out information from the warrant that, had they included it, would have caused a judge not to find probable cause to sign the warrant.  However, since you do not specify what your "proof" that the officer lied is, it is difficult to determine whether you actually do have a strong basis for a Franks motion in this instance.

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