Covington Man found Not Guilty by a Jury of Selling Cocaine to a Confidential Informant.
Attorney Ravi G. Shah
Mr. Lanell Certain represented by Attorney Ravi G. Shah of this law firm, was acquitted of Distribution of Schedule II Drugs in a Drug Free Zone on September 11, 2013 he had been incarcerated since his arrested on February 20, 2013.
He was facing a mandatory fifteen years in prison without parole if convicted.
Despite the fact that the informant testified Mr. Lanell Certain was the man who sold to her $20.00 of cocaine, Attorney Ravi G. Shah’s vigorous defense resulted an acquittal.
On December 11, 2012, Covington Police Department detectives claimed that the informant, arranged to buy a rock of Crack Cocaine from the defendant. They equipped the informant with audio recording equipment. The informant was provided with marked funds ($20.00) to make “the buy.” The detectives claimed the watched the transaction from an undercover vehicle.
The detectives claimed they watched “a person” emerge from a particular residence and meet the informant. The Covington detectives also claimed that they watched a hand to hand sale and that after the sale, the target walked back into the residence. The informant immediately left the scene while detectives claimed they kept her under close surveillance. The informant gave the Covington Police Department detectives Crack Cocaine that weighed approximately .1 grams.
Based upon their claims, the detectives applied for and were granted a “No-Knock” search warrant on the residence of Mr. Certain on December 13, 2012. The following day, December 14, 2012 searched the home without incident. Mr. Certain was not present at the residence at the time the Search Warrant was executed. No drugs were found in the house. Mr. Certain was not located and a warrant was issued for his arrest. On February 20, 2013, Mr. Certain was arrested without incident.
Attorney Ravi G. Shah, defense counsel from Mr. Certain forced Covington Police Department Detective Culotta to admit he could not see the alleged transaction from the surveillance vehicle. Attorney Shah then forced the state to play the audio recording made the night of the alleged controlled purchase by the informant from the defendant. The defendant’s voice was never heard.
Under cross examination by Attorney Shah the informant admitted that she was only paid for “successful” purchases and that her testimony that she “wanted to help clean up the streets for her nieces and nephews” was a lie. The informant admitted to using crack cocaine while working as an informant and up until 2 weeks before trial.
Attorney Ravi Shah was able to force both the officer and the informant to admit that they did not declare the income from her “activities” to the I.R.S. and aided her in the crime of income tax evasion.