A case of mistaken identity could have cost a Miami Dade man the next two decades of his life. On April 26th, a man entered a North Miami Beach convenience store and got into an argument with the clerk over the price of some cigars. He pulled out a gun and shot at the store as he left. No one was hurt, but the incident was immediately reported.
The evidence led law enforcement to Darnell Palmer who was then arrested for the shooting. Everything seemed to add up – Palmer often went to that store, he was a gun owner, and the car on the scene was registered to his mom. But Palmer claimed he was innocent and hired a defense attorney.
When it came time to review the evidence, Palmer’s defense attorney showed him the surveillance tape that seemed to be the nail on his coffin in this case – except it was his key to freedom. Upon watching the security footage, Palmer realized it was his half-brother, whom he resembled, on the tape. While they looked very similar, it just the proof that was needed to prove he wasn’t the man they were looking for.
A motion was filed on June 30th by Palmer’s defense attorney, and by August 7th all of the charges against Palmer were dropped. In a side-by-side comparison it’s easy to see the confusion between the two men, but subtle differences like the length or their dreadlocks and style were used to tell them apart. Once Palmer was officially off the hook, the State Attorneys Office released a statement declaring his innocence saying it, “could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt due to an issue relating to the identification of the charged defendant.”
Had Palmer not hired a criminal defense attorney, there’s a chance he might not have gotten to see the store’s surveillance tape, and could have gone to prison for 20 years for a crime that he didn’t commit. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. If you are being charged with a crime that you didn’t commit or aren’t involved in, consider giving Russell Spatz a call today at (305) 442-0200 to set up an appointment to discuss your case.
Lerner, Haley. “Miami Man Faced 20 Years until He Watched Video of the Crime and Saw His Brother’s Face.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald, www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article245205240.html