Defense Grills Police on Lack of Evidence against Accused at Prelim Hearing

By Daniella Espinoza

DUBLIN, CAIn a preliminary hearing in the East County Hall of Justice of Alameda County Superior Court, Nasir Sharifi late last week faced felony charges related to possession of controlled substances with the intent to sell.

But police had a difficult time providing evidence for the case to move forward.

Alameda Police Officer Thomas Long was questioned by the defense on the stand about his tactics and procedures involving people accused of possessing drugs with the intent to sell.

Sharifi’s attorney David Knutsen was quick to point out that it is “fair to say that there is no fingerprint identification of Mr. Nasir Sharifi inside the residence” of the scene because there were no “officers [who did] a sweep for DNA inside the residence.”

At the time of the hearing then, there was no official evidence from DNA that “[ties] Mr. Nasir to the residence” of the crimes, Knutsen said.

The defense added that on top of the lack of DNA evidence to indicate the accused’s presence at the residence, there was no evidence—like a utility or internet bill—with the name of the accused showing Sharifi lived or spent substantial time at the residence in question.

Police did submit Sharifi’s personal cell phone into evidence, but the defense said, while phones are usually used as a tool to sell and move illegal substances, Sharifi’s phone was seemingly clean of such activity.

When asked about the possible evidence that the phones may have had, officers replied that in the end, despite the commonality of picture evidence and messages on a phone, “it was never found that there was” any indication that Sharifi was conducting illegal transactions in this manner.

A decision by the judge on whether the case should be dismissed or go to trial was not immediately clear.

About The Author

Daniella is a fourth year transfer student at UC Berkeley pursuing degrees in both Political Science and Chicano studies. Before Berkeley, Daniella found her passion exploring the complexities of the criminal justice system and how this intersects with the Chicano community. After graduation, she plans to find work in the public sector where she hopes to make meaningful change in her community.

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