A starting linebacker for the Hurricanes was arrested for a variety of charges which allegedly occurred at a Coconut Grove Bar on St. Patrick's Day. The arrest affidavit accused the star University of Miami player of attempting to head butt a police officer and after being arrested told officers that he was a UM player and that because of his status he would get out of trouble. Ramon Buchanan is scheduled to make his first court appearance at his arraignment on April 18th before a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge. According to court records, Buchanan has not yet retained a Miami criminal defense lawyer to defend the case.
Buchanan was arrested on felony counts of resisting an officer with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer (LEO). He was also arrested on misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, resisting a police officer without violence and trespassing. Buchanan is the first UM player to be arrested since now Purdue quarterback was arrested in 2007 for criminal mischief and fleeing and eluding a police officer. Despite being fired last year, former UM coach Randy Shannon was credited with cleaning up a program that was replete with criminal arrests. While there have been no recent arrests, six players have been recently suspended for the 2011 opening game against the University of Maryland.
As long one can remember, Coconut Grove has been an area known for its bars and partying crowd. Along with the fun comes overzealous City of Miami Police officers that have made countless arrests of truly innocent defendants. Many of the those arrested in the "Grove" are tourists and first time offenders. The first step in defending these types of cases is to gather the names of the officers involved in the arrest. The internal affairs (IA) records for all of the officers involved should be ordered through a public records request. It is a safe bet that many of the officers have been reprimanded for using excessive violence against individuals. Anyone arrested in the Grove should provide a list of witnesses who were also present at the scene of the arrest to their criminal defense attorney in order to refute the testimony of the officers. To prepare the case, depositions of all the police officer witnesses should be taken to establish contradictions in their testimony.
While most battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence cases can be broken down, a well-prepared defense should at a minimum result in a referral to the pre-trial intervention program (PTI). PTI is a program offered by the state attorney's office to first-time offenders where a defendant can enroll and complete certain conditions required by the prosecutor. Once the conditions have been successfully completed, the state will nolle pros or dismiss the charges against the defendant. Once the case has been dismissed, a defendant will be able to expunge of clear his or her record. Of course, just because PTI has been offered, there is no requirement to enroll in the program and case can be taken to trial to secure an acquittal. Prior to taking the case to trial, the strengths and weaknesses in the case must be properly evaluated to determine the likelihood of success in front of a jury.
Arrested Miami Hurricanes LB Ramon Buchanan Tells Cops: "I'm a UM Football Player...I'll Get Out of It.", Palm Beach Post.com, March 22, 2011.