This is what I learned about Tampering with Evidence (Chief, Andrew and Rhett)

In White Springs we have had two individuals at least who have allegedly Tampered with Evidence  (I say alleged because they haven’t been convicted yet), but who were not charged because all evidence was destroyed or covered up.  The First was Andrew Greene protecting Robert Townsend by destroying evidence of paraphernalia which was used in the rape of Correction Inmates.  The Second is Chief of Police Tracy Rodriquenz who has done her fair share of covering Rhett Bullard’s evidence where he was allegedly having sex with minors and other sexually explicit pornography.

Prosecutors have time limits — called the statute of limitations — for filing criminal charges against a suspect.  It was after Andrew destroyed the Townsend evidents that the statute of limitations ran on Robert Townsend, because they had no actual evidence for which he could have been charged for the rape of these inmates.  These time limits vary by the severity of the crime, and there are no limits for certain violent crimes such as capital murder or kidnapping. These time limits ensure that evidence is preserved, justice is carried out efficiently, and that potential defendants (in most cases) don’t have the threat of criminal charges hanging over their heads indefinitely.

But keep in mind, the “clock” doesn’t run if you are out of state or otherwise evading law enforcement.

Elements of the Offense

The prosecution has the burden of establishing all elements of crime to prove that a person has committed the offence. Each of these very specific elements must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. The basic elements of tampering with evidence include:

  • Intent: The most important element of this crime is the accused’s state of mind. The prosecution must show that evidence was willfully and purposefully interfered with. Accidental destruction or simple abandonment (throwing away) is not enough to prove intent.
  • Knowledge: A person acts knowingly when they are aware that their conduct will probably cause a certain result. With a tampering charge, the accused must believe that there is a high chance that their actions will result in the
  • Evidence: This covers every kind of physical object that might be produced in any kind of legal trial, proceeding, or investigation. It also includes digital images and video recordings.
  • Awareness of a Potential or Pending Investigation: You may think that a person committing a crime must know that the potential exists for an investigation. However, even when the accused participates in an “obvious crime,” the prosecution must prove the evidence was tampered with in contemplation of a current or future proceeding.

The Act of Tampering

Tampering is a very broad concept that seems to cover any action that conceals a crime. But there are limits to what can be charged as a crime. For example, the fact that the accused was a knowing participant in an obvious crime, such as selling illegal drugs, doesn’t prove that they knew there could be an investigation into that crime or that the item they destroyed was evidence. So the fact that they threw away a piece of evidence doesn’t necessarily mean they were destroying evidence.

Actions that can trigger an evidence tampering charge include:  Yes this is Andrew Greene but since information was sent previously as a copy to the FBI, we are hoping they still have the opportunity to investigate Greene, Rodriquenz and Bullard, the latter of which is very current.  There are witnesses to these crimes.

  • Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove a thing or item with the purpose of hiding the truth or making an item unavailable for a proceeding or investigation; or
  • Make, present, or use an item in a manner to deceive any other party who is or may be engaged in the proceeding or investigation.

Penalties for Evidence Tampering

Tampering with evidence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The laws of your state and the nature of the alleged actions will determine the level of punishment. For example, if the accused begins flushing evidence down the toilet as the police walk through the door, higher penalties are likely. A conviction may include a combination of the following:

  • Jail up to one year for a state misdemeanor conviction.
  • State prison for up to 20 years for felony tampering with evidence.
  • You may be ordered to pay as much as $10,000 on a state conviction.
  • Federal sentencing may include fines and up to 20 years in prison.

Defending Against a Criminal Charge

When accused of any crime, you are presumed innocent, and have the right to a speedy trial and present a defense. To be found guilty of tampering with evidence, the government must prove you intended to commit each of the elements of this crime. 

Florida Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance

Statute Florida Statutes § 775.15
No Statute of Limitations Felony crimes that result in death, death penalty felonies, felonies that are punishable by life in prison, and perjury in an official proceeding associated with the prosecution of a capital felony (death penalty) have no statute of limitations.
First-Degree Felony 4 years
Other Felonies 3 years
First Degree Misdemeanor 2 years
Second Degree Misdemeanor 1 year
Noncriminal Violation 1 year
Specific Offenses
  • First degree felony and second degree felony for abuse or neglect of aged or disabled adult (5 years);
  • Violation of a securities transaction (5 years);
  • Violation of environmental control (5 years from the of date of discovery);
  • Any offense which fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation is a material element (3 years);
  • Misconduct in public office (within two years of leaving office or any above limit, whichever is greater);
  • Sexual offenses such as battery, assault, and intercourse under age eighteen (begins running at age sixteen or when the violation is reported, whichever is earlier).

In any event we hope that since the FBI received some of this information almost a year ago  from me only as a copy, that they will investigate once they pursue the Local Option Fuel Tax situation.  This corruption and attacks against citizens and children MUST STOP

 

Karin for the blog

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