From The Library of A Miami Criminal Lawyer
You must share this post with your kids. Being at the right place at the wrong time.
It can happen to you. It can happen to your kids. All of us can be at the right place at the wrong time and within seconds sit in a jail cell treated like a robber or a murderer.
My name is Larry Handfield. I am a Criminal Lawyer for over 25 years. During my successful career as a Miami criminal lawyer, I have tried over 500 jury trials, and Ervens Thevenin is one of those Miami criminal cases which I will never forget.
I can easily title his criminal case as ‘Presume guilty while being innocent’ rather than ‘Presume innocent while being guilty.’
What stands out about this Miami criminal case is the Miami Criminal System approach to justice. Miami Criminal prosecutor tried to get a conviction by any means necessary instead of pursuing justice.
This is a sad story of three young men being at the right place at the wrong time.
On the evening of May 22nd, 2015 Ervens Thevenin, who was gainfully employed as well as attending college, a person who has never been involved in the criminal justice system was hanging out with two close friends, Kevin Emile and Marlon Fabius. They were in a parking lot, in behind the senior citizen residential complex in Miami Gardens listening to music and ‘chill’ by the lake.
That evening, their normal ‘chill’ evening become a chilling and horrifying living nightmare within seconds.
A few miles away, Carlos Tocoli, a vibrant young man was walking with a female friend, Ashley Yodice.
Carlos and Ashley did not pay attention to the three young black males wearing hoodies and driving slowly in the Ford Escape behind them.
As Carlos turned to Ashley, the Ford Escape stopped right next to the couple. Two individuals jumped out of the car and robbed both Carlos and Ashley. They took their money, cell phones, personal effects and made their getaway in the Ford truck.
What happened next almost cost Carlos his life. He decided to pursue the suspects. The three thugs jumped out the vehicle pulled up guns and fired at least 14 rounds at him, got back into the getaway vehicle and drove away.
Carlos Tocoli, shaking and fearing for his life saw the Broward officer car passing by and flagged him down. After a short conversation, the officers chased the getaway vehicle.
The three thugs stopped the car jumped a fence, running with their guns. They approached Thevenin and his two friends who were talking and enjoying the music in the parking lot.
Thevenin and his friends saw the three black man wearing hoodies, holding a gun and running right next to them. Out of fear for their life they decided to leave the area and not become victims of the wrongdoers.
Thevenin and his two friends jumped into the green Impala and pulled away.
Within seconds, they stopped by the police who believed they were the men responsible for the armed robbery and attempted murder. They police snatched them out the car and handcuffed them. That evening Carlos and Ashley identified the three boys as the people who robbed and shot them. The police hold the three boys responsible for the armed robbery and attempted murder.
Ervens Thevenin, Kevin Emile and Marlon Fabius pleas for their innocence. They told the police that they had nothing to do with the robbery and shooting and insisted that they were innocent. No one believed them.
They were jailed and held for over nine months. Three innocent young individuals who were at the right place at the wrong time if found guilty by the jury were looking to spend their life in prison without possibility parole.
I was approached by the family to take the case. In all my years as a Miami criminal lawyer, I had the privilege to hear many criminal cases. Each defender had a story. As a criminal lawyer who did over 500 jury trials, I developed the sixth sense – Defender story True or Not Truth?
After talking to Ervens Thevenin I knew I have a criminal case of a mistake in identity. The young boys were innocent. Why a young man with a clean record, who attend college and work wake up one morning and go rob and shoot people?
The trial took a little over a month. The jury found all three defendants NOT GUILTY of all charges within 5 minutes.
“I will always remember this case because my closing argument to the jury”; I was embarrassed that they had the opportunity to witness our criminal justice system at it’s worst. This case represented one of the worst cases where the interest of justice was hijacked by a prosecutor seeking a conviction by any means necessary instead of pursuing justice.”