August 22, 2013 By Stephen Klarich

If a Dog is Used to Convict You, the Dog Better Have a Strong Sense of Smell or Your Conviction Could Be Reversed

You are accused of a crime you did not commit and faced with years in prison. There is little evidence against you aside from sketchy eyewitness accounts. In fact, the evidence mostly points to another individual. However, you are convicted of the crime because a dog inaccurately linked you to the crime scene. That’s right, a dog.

In a recent case, Gilbert Aguilar’s 2002 conviction of first-degree murder was tossed out because the scent-identifying dog used to connect him to the crime had a history of mistakenly recognizing smells. Even when the prosecution lacks evidence against you and you are confident you will beat the charges you are facing, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the knowledge it takes to successfully defend you against your criminal charges.

Dog Scent Identification Falsely Used to Convict Aguilar

Dog scent identification
Without an experienced criminal defense attorney, you could go to jail for a crime you did not commit.

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel recently ruled that evidence used to convict Aguilar of murder was not valid because prosecutors failed to disclose a police dog’s history of mistakenly identifying scents. Aguilar was convicted of first-degree murder in 2002 in Aguilar v. Woodford, Case No. 09-55575 based on the scent-matching evidence provided by a dog named Reilly.

In a separate trial that occurred months before Aguilar’s trial in which Reilly was used to provide evidence, the prosecution revealed the scent dog had mistaken identifications twice before. The judge disallowed the evidence and the public defender later wrote a letter to the district attorney demanding Reilly’s history of errors be disclosed to every defense attorney with a case involving the dog.

The information was not disclosed to Aguilar’s defense during his trial despite Reilly being used to match Aguilar’s scent to the getaway car. Thus, the court of appeals ordered he be granted a new trial or released.

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The Reilly the scent dog example outlines the need for a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent you and handle your criminal case. Even the smallest detail cannot be overlooked when you are facing valuable years of your life in prison. When there is a little evidence against you, you need a knowledgeable defense attorney who has experience proving the evidence is false or getting it disallowed from the trial altogether.

Not only did Aguilar’s defense team miss an error that could have led to him being freed, his criminal appeals lawyer was not resilient enough to get the evidence used to convict him thrown out until more than 10 years after the trial. When you are facing a long jail sentence, you need a dedicated lawyer who truly knows the law.

If you are facing criminal charges, the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you. We have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients against criminal charges and appealing convictions. There is too much at stake to trust anyone else with your legal defense. Call us at (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case at absolutely no cost.

AUTHOR: Stephen Klarich

Stephen Klarich is a partner at Wallin & Klarich and expert in the field of sex crimes. For over thirty years, Stephen Klarich has been handling criminal cases and matters involving sex offenses. With an unparalleled knowledge of sex crimes defense, Stephen Klarich protects his clients’ rights. Stephen Klarich has experienced significant success in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon for his clients. Thousands of clients have put their trust in Stephen Klarich and the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in their time of legal need.

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