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Mistrial Declared in Case Against Miami Beach Police Tech Accused of Mishandling Evidence

In a strange twist of events, a mistrial was declared on September 8, 2021, in the case against Jason Bruder, a technician with the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) accused of mishandling evidence and then falsifying logs to cover up his error. The reason the case fell apart? The evidence logs that Bruder allegedly doctored had subsequently been altered by other MBPD employees.

Bruder, 46, was a 13-year veteran of MBPD when he was fired in September 2018 for failing to properly record items that he transferred from the evidence office to the property storage room. That process is supposed to be completed within a few days, but Bruder missed the deadline and then fudged dates in the log to obfuscate his error. MBPD insisted that no evidence was lost in the process, but it arrested the sloppy technician and charged him with nine misdemeanor counts related to his malfeasance.

“We take our responsibility to handle evidence very seriously," said then-MBPD Chief Daniel Oates.

As proof of the crime, state prosecutors submitted to jurors copies of MBPD evidence logs highlighting the nine entries Bruder allegedly altered in his attempt to cover up his failure to make timely record entries. However, when new copies of the same pages were later submitted and examined by the defense, changes were noted in other entries—meaning someone in MBPD had altered the documents that Bruder was accused of altering, and prosecutors had failed to notice.

“The irony should not be lost on anyone,” said his attorney, Michael Greico,

After the judge declared a mistrial, the office of Miami-Dade State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle did not immediately say whether Bruder would be re-tried. But Greico expressed his hope that the case would be dropped, especially because his client has been unable to find another job since he was fired from MBPD three years ago.

“When you are charged with something like this, you are instantly unemployable,” Greico said, adding that Bruder “should never have been fired, and he should never have been charged criminally.”

 

Source: TechDirt.com, Miami Herald

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