One of the 'worst of the worst' seeks to have evidence thrown ou - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

One of the 'worst of the worst' seeks to have evidence thrown out

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The federal drug case against a Chattanooga man may be in jeopardy. His attorneys want wiretap phone evidence against him thrown out.

Twenty-year-old Jumoke Johnson Jr. was deemed one of the 'worst of the worst' when he and 31 other men were rounded up by the feds last year. Johnson's attorneys say the evidence in his case is misleading and the state illegally tapped his phone. In Wednesday's evidence suppression hearing, U.S. Attorney Chris Poole called the efforts a "colossal waste of time," saying his defense team is basing their argument off a typo.

Jumoke Johnson Jr. faces anywhere from 10 years to life in federal prison after being arrested on drug charges in 2013. Police have testified before that he is a violent gang leader who has been known to intimidate witnesses in past cases against him.
 
Johnson's defense team filed a motion in his federal case saying "the state illegally intercepted his telephone calls."

"There's sworn information in the documents that would indicate that the wiretap began on June first, which is earlier than it was supposed to," says Johnson's attorney, Hugh Moore.

The court granted Chattanooga Police investigators a 30-day window last year to tap Jumoke Johnson's phone. The surveillance was ordered to begin June 18th. But, in one of the surveillance progress reports presented to the court, investigators said the surveillance started on June 1st, outside the 30-day window.

The U.S. attorney's office argues the date printed was a "clerical error" and that no evidence was collected before the 18th. Moore says the "clerical error" was filed under oath and is assumed to be true. He says the 30-day window should have ended on June 30th. It just so happens the majority of the state's wiretap evidence collected against Jumoke was after June 30th.    

"If we prevail, then the wiretaps are completely or partially suppressed and can't come into evidence," says Moore.

The lead police investigator on Johnson's surveillance testified in the motion hearing, despite the typo, the evidence in the case is "one hundred percent accurate."

Federal Magistrate Judge Bill Carter is expected to make a ruling within the next week. Both sides will have 14 days to file any objections to his decision.

A trial date for Jumoke Johnson's case has not yet been set.





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