Judge says illegal search voids man's drug conviction

By PATSY R. BRUMFIELD/Daily Journal

OXFORD – Kermit Omar Rogers of Shannon no longer faces federal drug charges after his case was dismissed because his constitutional rights were violated.
What’s unusual about Rogers’ case outcome is that it results from harsh criticism by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
During that 2012 hearing, Judge Grady Jolly, a Mississippi native, lambasted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for using a flawed search warrant for property different from what was requested in 2009.
Rogers, 38, was indicted and was denied motions to suppress a post-arrest statement and to suppress evidence found on property adjacent to the address on the search warrant.
The original search was for 320 CR 401, Shannon, but officers also searched a building and vehicle at 320-A CR 401, which was not specified on the warrant. Drugs were found at both locations.
Without holding a hearing on conflicting information, the motions were denied.
“This is a great day for the 4th Amendment,” said Rogers’ attorney, Rob Laher of Tupelo. The 4th Amendment protects citizens from illegal searches and seizures.
In December 2010, Rogers pleaded guilty to one count and avoided trial then was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
His first appeal to the 5th Circuit was dismissed, but last July, the appeals court vacated his conviction and sent the case back to North Mississippi for a hearing on his motion about the search warrant.
Laher argued that drugs found in Rogers’ truck parked outside 320A CR 401 should be excluded into evidence because that location wasn’t on the search warrant.
Judge Michael P. Mills agreed, saying Rogers’ 4th Amendment rights were violated and the evidence gained by it never could be used against him again.
• For more details, read Thursday’s Daily Journal.