Newsday did a disservice to readers, the members of the Suffolk County Police Department and the 186 assistant district attorneys in the Suffolk County district attorney’s office with the anonymously sourced article that announced controversy where none exists [“Gang suspects released,” News, May 31].
The search warrants referenced were written by an experienced Suffolk County gang prosecutor. The drafting and execution of a search warrant are often just the first steps in building a criminal case involving firearms or narcotics. There also must be some evidence to establish possession of the seized contraband.
Possession is defined in New York State criminal law as having “physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over tangible property.” Where individuals are guests in a home, make no statements admitting possession, and the guns and drugs are well hidden behind Sheetrock walls and in crawl spaces, it is easy to understand why a prosecution may be challenging, regardless of the history of the home’s occupants.
Despite these challenges, and no matter the case, police and prosecutors work with our outstanding crime laboratory to try to develop additional evidence, including fingerprints, DNA and firearms-tracing evidence. They attempt to learn the source of both the guns and drugs and often may begin new investigations developed from confidential information.
At the end of the day, even if no prosecutable case is possible, credible law enforcement officers are satisfied that guns and drugs have been removed from our communities.
Emily A. Constant, Hauppauge
Editor’s note: The writer is the chief assistant district attorney for Suffolk County.