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Drug Laws Used For Entrapment In Custody Case

A News Analysis By Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
Published On: July 14, 2001          Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Drug Laws Used For Entrapment In Custody Case 010714

On July 10, 2001, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that a man was arrested for engaging in a conspiracy to plant drugs in his wife's car in order to gain custody of his children.  This story has some bizarre features, including the man's previous arrest for conspiring to have his father and his father's girlfriend murdered.  

The drug laws, however, can be easily used to entrap innocent people.  This is because there are "drug law exceptions" to constitutionally guaranteed rights, especially rights to protection from unfair search and seizures.  When these "drug law exceptions" are brought into play in the context of the family court system serious injustices can result.  This is because most family courts are biased toward protecting woman and, as a result, is biased against men.  Any man coming before the court with current or prior drug charges will be held suspect and have a difficult time being viewed objectively by the court.

Because no-knock search warrants can be issued based upon anonymous reports, making false anonymous reports of drug possession and drug dealing are becoming a tactic used in divorce and child custody proceedings.  Here's how it works:

A divorce is occurring and one of the partners (we'll call him or her Partner A) wants to gain unfair advantage in the divorce settlement.  Partner A obtains a bag of marijuana and hides it underneath the bumper of their partner's car (anywhere on or in the car will do).  Partner A then makes an anonymous call to the police and reports that Partner B is a drug dealer and a drug addict.  

Although this anonymous call will usually be enough to trigger a drug raid, to be really effective these allegations can be made by a woman in the context of filing a false report to get a temporary restraining order for protection against domestic violence.  These are routinely granted in many counties when the woman is the petitioner and enacted without the man even having the opportunity to talk with anyone.

While making that report the partner states that the other person is known to use and carry illicit drugs in his car, is frequently stoned on drugs, and usually threatens violence when he is.  The domestic violence judge is likely to issue the temporary restraining order and pass the information about drugs onto the police.  The police will then be able to get a no-knock drug warrant and stage a drug raid.  When they discover the marijuana, they arrest Partner B, confiscate his car, and perhaps his  house.  

Partner B is now facing drug charges that could land him in jail.  The very presence of a drug charge destroys his credibility in the eyes of the court.  The drug charge also make the need for a restraining order seem plausible.  

Partner B is now going to more interested in keeping out of jail for drug charges and be less able to pursue the divorce or custody issues.  The presence of the drug charges make it virtually impossible for him to win in family court.

It didn't work in the story below for several reasons.  First, the man was acting against the woman and the man is always suspect in family law proceedings.  Second, the man had other criminal charges pending (conspiracy to commit murder) which destroyed his credibility.  Third, the man contracted with a known criminal to plant the drugs and the criminal turned him in, probably as the result of plea bargain.

Lauderdale Lawyer Accused of  
Helping Plant Cocaine In Boca Woman's Car

Federal authorities arrested a Fort Lauderdale attorney Saturday on charges  he helped coordinate a scheme to frame a Boca Raton businessman's ex-wife by planting cocaine in her car.  

Alexandre Lasnaud, 31, was enlisted last year by Gary Robert Gillman in the former executive's bizarre attempt to keep his former spouse from gaining custody of their two children, according to court documents released Monday.

Gillman had been raising his children until he was arrested in October for offering $120,000 to a North Carolina man to kill his father and his father's girlfriend so he could inherit the family business.

While in the Palm Beach County Jail awaiting trial, Gillman agreed to bail out his cellmate and get him an attorney if the cellmate would break into his ex-wife's garage and put cocaine inside her car, court documents said. The cellmate then would tell police that Gillman's ex-wife was dealing crack out of her Boca Raton home so she would get arrested, according to court documents.

Gillman pleaded guilty in February to hiring the hitman and later plotting to have his ex-wife put behind bars on drug charges. He is awaiting sentencing on those charges.

Lasnaud is accused of organizing the break-in with Gillman's former cellmate and then having two men watch as the cellmate broke into the garage to ensure the plan was carried out. While the former cellmate did break into the garage in October, he never planted the cocaine that he was paid to purchase, according to court records.

Prosecutors won't disclose when Lasnaud's name came up as being involved in the custody scheme, but at some point, Gillman agreed to cooperate with FBI agents and wore a body wiretap during a meeting with the lawyer.

During the Dec. 28 jailhouse meeting, Lasnaud told Gillman to lie if the FBI questioned him about the plan and gave him a cover story, according to court records.

In an indictment made public Monday, Lasnaud faces an obstruction of justice charge and a count of conspiring to distribute cocaine. He faces a maximum of 50 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted of both charges.

Florida Bar Association records show Lasnaud -- a graduate of St. Thomas Law School in Miami -- has been a bar member since October 1997. He was being held in the Broward County Jail on Monday night, awaiting a pretrial release hearing this morning.

Prosecutors will ask today that Lasnaud be held without bail as he awaits trial because he "has the ability to obtain French passports under fictitious names," according to court records.

Lasnaud was born in France and has dual citizenship with France and the United States, court records state.

If he were to flee, his extradition would be unlikely, according to prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence Thompson said Monday that the investigation into the plot to frame Gillman's ex-wife is still ongoing and the man who was going to plant the drugs is still under investigation.

Gillman's children, ages 2 and 6, are living with their grandfather -- the man Gillman had plotted to kill, according to court records.

Gary Gillman wanted his father dead after a bitter schism developed between them when the father accused the son of mismanaging the family business -- an international collections agency.

Gillman was caught after the supposed hitman went to federal authorities.

Newshawk: Sledhead - 
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jul 2001
Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Sun-Sentinel Co & South Florida Interactive, Inc
Author: Jon Burstein


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