Crack or Sugar? Deputies Mistake Costs Leon Sheriff’s Office $270k

May 19, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges

Sometimes the best defense in a criminal case can be as sweet as a pastry! In the case of Miles Evora, that was exactly what happened. Evora was wrongfully arrested in a routine traffic stop after two deputies claimed he had illegal substances in his vehicle.

After waiting a long period for test results, it turned out that it was not an illegal drug at all—it was just sugar from a pastry. In a case that almost seems comical, it is important to go over the events of the incident, how it was handled by police and the unanimous vote that granted Evora over $250,000.

What was the Incident?

Miles Evora, 51, is a father of six and a local barber in Florida. On December 18th, 2018, Evora had been driving on Janet Drive in Tallahassee when he got pulled over by Deputy Dills from Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Dills claimed that Evora ran through a stop sign, although Evora denies the claim.

Deputy Dills and fellow Deputy Littlefield were granted permission to search Evora’s car. Upon inspection, the two officers found a white substance on the floorboard of the car. Based on his “training and experience,” Deputy Dills had reason to believe that the substance in Evora’s car was crack cocaine.

In a comment from Dills, he claimed: “I was able to retrieve a piece of the substance which upon closer look, confirmed my suspicion and belief that the substance was crack cocaine.” Dills also stated that he tested the substance using a “field test” and that it tested positive for crack cocaine, however, there was no record of a field test being conducted.

Deputy Dills forcefully restrained Evora after gathering the substance, and he claimed that Evora was objecting by tensing his muscles. The confrontation escalated further when both officers slammed Evora to the ground and used a taser on him.

Before getting taken to jail, Evora was first taken to the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare to check his wellbeing. Evora was then charged with possession of a controlled substance, resisting an officer without violence, and battery of an officer.

Over a year later in December of 2019, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement completed a test of the white substance that was found in Evora’s vehicle. After the test, it was determined that the powdery “off-white waxy material” was not actually crack cocaine. State Attorney Jack Campbell was forced to drop all the charges on Evora after it was revealed he did not have any illegal substances on his person.

In October of 2020, a test was provided by an independent laboratory to determine what the substance in Evora’s car actually was. It turned out that the white substance was residue from a sugary icing from a Danish pastry.

The spokeswoman of LCSO, Angela Green, gave a statement regarding the charges being dropped against Evora: “The Leon County Sheriff’s Office respects the jury’s verdict in this case.” There have been no decisions about an appeal.

Lawsuit Following the Arrest

Since the wrongful arrest was made in 2018, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) has now been ordered to pay a total of $269,810 to Evora. The vote by the Tallahassee jury was unanimous, with the argument that Deputy Dills did not have probable cause to restrain Evora. In addition, it was addressed that the actions by the Deputies and the wrongful arrest caused Evora lasting damages.

Evora’s attorneys Ryan Molaghan and Paul Aloise both stated that they are grateful for just how attentive the jury was during the trial. The attorneys gave the comment, “The verdict in this case is the culmination of Mr. Evora’s long journey for vindication and we’re very happy he was able to get the justice he deserved.”

What this Means for Leon County Officers

As of now, neither of the officers have been reprimanded for the incident with Evora. Deputy Dills was originally hired in 2016 and currently works as a “Professional Standards Detective” with the LCSO. Deputy Littlefield was also originally hired in 2016, and currently works under the department’s Patrol Unit.

Although both officers remain employed without being disciplined, the case does highlight confrontations with police officers. One of the attorneys representing Evora gave the following comment about how he hopes the LCSO, “takes this as an opportunity to evaluate its personnel and policies to ensure that the high degree of professionalism required by that office is being met.”

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting in trouble with the law is always scary, even if you are certain of your innocence. It is important to remember to maintain a calm demeanor when dealing with the police. To read more about interactions with police officers, you can find our blog here.

Even though the evidence spoke for itself in Evora’s case, it is still imperative to receive legal advice from a skilled defense attorney. Quality legal help in a criminal case can ease your stress, and help guarantee you the best possible outcome of your case. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across Florida for various charges. They understand the importance of strategizing a strong defense, and will stick by your side throughout the whole process. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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