Approximately three weeks ago the conviction of Marvin Blades, Jr., a former Tulsa police officer, for armed robbery was affirmed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, according to a news article at Tulsa World.
Blades, who is 39 years old, was found guilty of pulling over Hispanic individuals while on duty and in uniform, then stealing money from their wallets. He was sentenced to three 35 year prison terms which are to run concurrently. He was originally charged with second-degree robbery, however the charges were upgraded to five counts of robbery with a firearm after investigators discovered his ruse. The investigation began after police were informed that an officer had been stealing from Hispanic drivers’ wallets.
Blades was caught after the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the Tulsa Police Special Investigation Division implemented a sting operation. During the operation, Blades pulled over an OBN agent, telling him to get in the back seat of the police car, but to leave his wallet on the seat. Upon returning to his car, the undercover OBN agent found that Blades had taken $600 from his wallet. Blades was then apprehended by officers, who found he had $600 in his pocket.
Blades’ defense lawyers immediately filed an appeal following his conviction, arguing that the evidence to support a conviction on five counts of armed robbery was insufficient. In addition, appeals attorneys argued that their client did not brandish his firearm or threaten the victims in any way, and that two of the alleged victims could not identify Blades as the officer who robbed them.
The appeals court upheld Blades’ conviction due to the fact that under Oklahoma state law, the offender does not have to show a weapon, brandish it, or point it at the victim to be found guilty. The mere presence of the firearm, whether it is real or fake, is sufficient to be charged with armed robbery.
It is extremely difficult to have a conviction overturned on appeal; the defendant must have an appellate attorney who is highly experienced and skilled in the appeals process. Anyone in the state of Michigan who has been wrongly convicted of a crime or who feels that mistakes were made in the criminal justice process must consult with a Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who is tough, and knows how to thoroughly investigate your case to find any mistakes or evidence that may be solid enough to help you win on appeal.
No attorney can guarantee having a conviction overturned, however the lawyer you choose for the process can make a great difference in the outcome. If you are considering appealing your conviction, contact a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal appeals attorney.