WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The fallout from the arrest of a PBSO drug detective has begun. One defense attorney believes his client’s case should be reconsidered because of the felony charges against the deputy.
A hearing at the courthouse Monday could be the first of many hearings to come.
David Casals’s client, Sandra Mass, agreed to plead guilty but now wants to take back her plea.
Casals argued her case deserved another look after the undercover deputy Joaquin Fonseca was arrested for falsifying police reports and official misconduct.
"He's accusing an innocent person,” said Casals.
He said Fonseca ran the drug bust that netted Mass and a friend.
Casals said, "She was accused of trafficking cocaine and officer Fonseca, who arrested her, didn't gather any evidence."
He said Mass took the plea because it would be her word against the officers in court, but the prosecutor told the judge what’s done is done.
"There's no showing she took this plea under any kind of protest. And to now and go back and learn the officer himself was arrested and say oh well, I wish I didn't,” said the prosecuting attorney.
Now Casals could be the first of many defense attorneys to question how Fonseca’s own arrest could taint other arrests he’s made.
Legal expert Michelle Suskauer said it definitely opens the door.
"Certainly based on the agents conduct, I think we're going to see more motions coming down the pike,” said Suskauer.
But she said it doesn’t necessarily mean people arrested by Fonseca will walk free.
"Certainly the state is going to look at all the cases and see can they make the case without him,” said Suskauer. ”What is the evidence, also looking at the plea discussions as to whether they can be challenged as well."
The judge will hold another hearing next month before making a decision.
Fonseca remains on paid administrative leave.
The state’s attorney would not comment, saying the open cases are still under investigation.