On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes on Monday, December 31, 2012
As our St. Louis readers know, American citizenship provides for a number of privileges and opportunities, but it also carries with it civic responsibilities. Among the many responsibilities that come with U.S. citizenship, individuals are prohibited from interfering with any type of federal investigation. Obstructing justice, tampering with evidence and tampering with witnesses are all considered serious offenses under federal criminal law.
Recently a security guard who worked in a St. Louis County office building was indicted in federal court for alleged witness tampering. According to authorities, the security guard saw a Social Security Administration officer following a man in the building as he made his way to a medical office. The man had claimed to be disabled and the officer was investigating the legitimacy of this claim.
The security guard recorded the license plate number of the Social Security officer, prompting another officer to reveal to her that they worked for a federal agency and were carrying out an investigation. Allegedly, the security guard then told the man who was the target of the investigation that he was being followed.
Another person in the security guard’s position may have done the same thing, thinking it to be harmless. But according to federal prosecutors, the security guard exposed a federal investigation while it was in progress by tampering with a witness. A federal offense is a serious charge, and a defendant in a case similar to this one would be wise to secure the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
A lawyer experienced in federal criminal defense can help their client choose the surest course of action in their case. In some circumstances, it is in a client’s best interest to defend their case at trial if they happen to have evidence that proves their innocence or casts doubt on the prosecution’s position. But even if a defendant does not have favorable evidence, all is not lost. A defense lawyer may be able to enter into plea negotiations with prosecutors on their client’s behalf. This could result in an opportunity for the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for a lighter sentence.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Security guard at St. Louis County office building outed federal investigation, prosecutors says,” Robert Patrick, Dec. 20, 2012