By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
Buying crack on East Colfax Avenue is easy.
All a person has to do is walk the littered street, preferably at night, and pace the sidewalk between Logan and York streets. The thick of the strip is at Ogden Street in front of the 7-Eleven store and beneath the shadows of the Royal Motel, a shoddy barrack three blocks from the Capitol Hill police station on Washington Street.
Walk with determination and, when you pass a doper wearing soiled jeans, weathered tennis shoes and a stretched T-shirt announcing a Denver Broncos championship, attempt eye contact and ask, "You holdin'?"
The person will either ignore you, believing you to be a cop, or stop and say, "Yeah, I know where we can score." That involves finding "this one guy," and "this one guy" usually needs to find a car, and that means getting the car and driving to a run-down house in Five Points or on the edge of north Capitol Hill, and by that time, that means buying crack is difficult.
Stay out of the car and stick with the man who holds the drugs--a hit goes for $5, a small rock for $10 and a party for $20. That is, if your dealer hasn't sold you a nugget of yellow wax, which can be determined by softly scratching the lumpy rock with your front tooth. If it's gummy like wax, it is. If it's chalky and bitter, it's crack.
The partners dominate the neighborhood and own a hard reputation among the whores, pushers and junkies in Capitol Hill. O'Bannon and Duncan don't fuck around, they say.
For instance, on July 14, 1998, at 10:30 p.m., the two received a call that a man named Harvey Lynch, dressed in shorts and a red tank top (Chicago Bulls championship), had been seen strutting outside his apartment and jabbing a butcher knife in the faces of three small children and their parents.
When O'Bannon and Duncan arrived at the red-brick Hilltop Apartments at 1554 Logan Street, resident Shirley Bueno pointed downstairs and said Lynch was hiding out in his apartment.
O'Bannon and Duncan knew Lynch was deranged and possibly violent, but the two decided they could handle it themselves.
They knocked on Lynch's door, apartment number 105.
The two officers, dressed in their dark-blues, didn't say a word. Lynch looked through the peephole. It was obvious to O'Bannon that Lynch knew who they were.
Still, Lynch opened the door.
"You're under arrest," O'Bannon told him.
Lynch tried to run back into his tiny, one-bedroom apartment; he didn't get far. O'Bannon and Duncan caught him by his shirttail within ten feet of the doorway. Lynch refused to put his hands behind his back, forcing O'Bannon to take him to the floor. Duncan helped his partner with the cuffing, and the scrap in the doorway lasted one minute.
Three women sitting on a sofa in the living room watched the arrest unfold at their feet. Once Lynch was cuffed and plopped on the living room floor, Duncan kept an eye on the ladies while O'Bannon searched the rest of the apartment.
At that point, O'Bannon didn't know how many people were in the apartment. He walked a few feet down the hallway and looked into the bedroom--the door was open--and saw three men sitting in a row on the edge of the bed, one of whom was puffing crack.
Sitting in the middle was Carl Moten, a man familiar with drugs, cops and jails. Moten was no stranger to O'Bannon and Duncan, either.
Still drawing from the metal crack pipe in his mouth, Moten looked up at O'Bannon. The flame beneath his pipe died, and he dropped both the pipe and lighter to the floor.
But O'Bannon noticed that the officers were outnumbered, seven to two. He ordered the three men to join the others in the living room. One of Moten's smoke buddies, Lawrence Nelson, was mouthing off. O'Bannon slapped a pair of cuffs on him, then went for Moten.
O'Bannon told Moten to stand up and asked whether he had anything illegal on him. Moten said no, and when O'Bannon asked to search him, Moten said, "Go ahead." When O'Bannon put his hand in Moten's front right pocket, he found half a gram of crack.
Duncan flung a pair of handcuffs across the room, and O'Bannon clasped them around Moten's wrists.
It was an amazing catch for O'Bannon and Duncan. One frantic phone call about a man waving a knife turned into five drug-related arrests.
Carl Moten sat in Denver County Jail for eleven months, waiting for his jury trial, which ended this past June. By the time the trial was over, the jury had been forced to question much of O'Bannon and Duncan's neat story.
Why would Lynch willingly open the door for a pair of mute officers and then run? Why would Moten spark a crack pipe when officers were wrestling around outside the open bedroom door? And why would Moten tell O'Bannon he wasn't holding drugs and then gladly consent to a search?
"Everybody knows O'Bannon and Duncan," Moten says from behind the bars of the Denver County Jail. "Half the guys in here 'cause of them."
Making a lot of arrests, which O'Bannon and Duncan do, is easy.
Keeping the crooks in jail is the hard part.
The District 6 precinct is centered in the heart of a neighborhood that, were it human, would be schizophrenic. Rows of gorgeous Victorian homes tower above massive front lawns that slope dramatically down to the sidewalk. Around the corner, drab, Eastern European-style apartment buildings are stuffed with students, bartenders and struggling musicians. The people of Capitol Hill show themselves in their windows: rainbow flags, American flags, "Room for Rent," "No NRA!" or "This Owner Armed!"
East Colfax Avenue cuts through the middle of it all like a hyperactive child, its liquor stores, antique shops, used-furniture lots, whizzing cars, fast-food chains, music halls, adult bookstores, bars, bars, and more bars usurping the energy of the neighborhood.
In March, Officer Daniel O'Bannon applied to serve as one of Capitol Hill's official neighborhood police officers. Neighborhood officers are supposed to be the comfortable liaison between the people and the police. They tool around on foot or bicycle and give neighborhood groups tips on preventing crime; they're the kind of cops who carry toy badges for the little guys. Some officers share their pager numbers with neighborhood crime-watchers, who can track them down at a moment's notice.
On paper, O'Bannon exceeded the credentials. During a one-year span, from February 1998 through March 1999, he was either the primary or secondary officer in 1,215 arrests--a remarkable pace even for a cop working in the pits. According to his records, O'Bannon specializes in making drug busts and sending evasive crooks back to the slammer: One-third of his arrests are drug-related, and he returned 168 criminals who failed to appear in court--more impressive numbers.
Joseph Duncan makes the team a two-man war on drugs. Both officers joined the force in 1995 and began patrolling together out of District 6 in 1997. The two often worked the swing shift, when the lights went down. Together, O'Bannon and Duncan cuffed 477 people one year; 166 of the arrest were drug-related.
"They are very good officers who work very hard and focus on drug enforcement," says their supervisor, Captain John Lamb.
But in the last few months, a lot of people outside the department and inside the neighborhood--and the legal system--are questioning O'Bannon and Duncan's policing style.
For his hoped-for job in the community, O'Bannon interviewed with Tom Knorr, executive director of the Capitol Hill United Neighborhood association. Knorr can't recall why the group passed on O'Bannon, saying he could think of nothing memorable about the officer. "We just went with someone else."
At the time, Knorr didn't know that on January 31, during the Super Bowl celebration of the Broncos' victory, O'Bannon was involved in a macing incident outside the Denver Detour, at 551 East Colfax. And Detour owner Sheila Keathley remembers officer O'Bannon clearly: "Tall, white, blonde, thin."
After the game ended that Sunday evening, celebrators spilled onto East Colfax. Keathley and her patrons joined the cheer, slapping high fives with passing carloads of jubilant fans. Usually, Keathley keeps the door facing East Colfax locked to prevent vagabonds from coming in to use the washrooms. (Keathley also grew tired of watching uncomfortable faces reveal shock when they realized they had entered a gay bar.) But this night, Keathley unlocked the door and let East Colfax come to her. Soon, a white patrol car driven by O'Bannon pulled up to where patrons were still cheering at the curb.
"He walked right up to the first person and briefly said something to her and sprayed her from about six inches' range," Keathley says. "I don't know what he said, but by the time he got through with her, her shirt was yellow. And then he went right down the line and got four or five or six more.
"Then he got back in his car. He left. He didn't write any citations; he didn't write a report. I wasn't even aware that he had a partner in the car. I just thought he was a rogue officer, an angry person, a person acting alone. I didn't know someone else was with him." (Investigators won't confirm whether Duncan was inside the car.)
After O'Bannon's car pulled away, Keathley started yelling for her customers to get back inside. The mace victims ran to the bathrooms to rinse their eyes. It took them an hour to get the burning yellow goo out of their hair and off their scalps, Keathley says. The first woman who was sprayed had noticed O'Bannon's name tag just before he'd unleashed the stream of deterrent. She wouldn't let herself forget his name. Keathley and the others wanted to call the cops to report the incident, but the "celebration" outside turned violent. Cops clacked down East Colfax in protective lines, decked in riot gear. White, misty clouds of tear gas wafted into the tentacles of Capitol Hill. "It wasn't the best time to go have a little chitchat with the cops," Keathley says.
Initially, none of the mace victims considered filing a complaint--the cops had done enough, they figured. But in March--about the same time O'Bannon was applying for his neighborhood policing job, Keathley wrote a letter to Mayor Wellington Webb detailing O'Bannon's performance in the community. She demanded an investigation.
Within two weeks, an agent from the police department's internal-affairs unit interviewed Keathley at her bar during the lunch hour. Though the files remain confidential, Keathley says the investigator told her O'Bannon and his partner were charged with a misdemeanor for failing to file a report describing the altercation.
One witness claims O'Bannon spit out "Fucking faggots," but Keathley never heard the slur. "It's possible," she says. "Or maybe it's just a person that goes around doing that to people, abusing his authority."
Keathley says a patrol officer later apologized on behalf of the precinct. "The police have always been great to me. They watch my parking lot and come in the bar all the time to make sure everything is all right. I've never had a problem before. I don't know what this guy's problem was."
And since then, the melee has become O'Bannon's problem.
When CHUN director Knorr learned of O'Bannon's involvement in the macing incident, he phoned Captain Lamb at the Capitol Hill precinct.
"John," Knorr said, "if what's alleged is true, then we don't need that kind of behavior on Cap Hill."
On May 25 at 8:15 a.m., Sergeant Tim Towne walked into the District 6 precinct and handed his co-worker a citation that formally charged him with misdemeanor assault. In the police report, Towne left the "remarks" section blank. O'Bannon pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. If he's convicted, O'Bannon most likely won't be pushed off the force, since misdemeanor offenses require no punishment. The charge, however, remains one of the few instances in which the city attorney has filed charges against a police officer.
According to court documents, at least eight individual complaints against O'Bannon and Duncan have led to internal-affairs investigations. A ninth internal investigation began in June, after Jemar Greenwood complained of unnecessary force by the duo. (Greenwood, who has more than thirty arrests on his record, is serving a three-year stint in Canon City for drug possession.)
The internal investigations don't include the unknown number of cases thrown out of court for lack of evidence--a trend that can be documented only by groaning city attorneys and snickering public defenders. The impression left by O'Bannon and Duncan's work is woeful. "What's really troubling," says one attorney, is that "it's impossible to know how many people these guys stop, hassle, but let go. That number will never be known."
Just six days after O'Bannon was cited for assault, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on a case that stemmed from a sloppy arrest he'd made. The city attorney's office had gone to the wall for O'Bannon by appealing the case to the state's highest court, and now the same office is being forced to try a case against him.
Last November 16 at 9:25 p.m., Robert Clark called the police from his Capitol Hill home at 1442 Humboldt, a taupe-colored mansion cut into nine funky apartments. Two satyrs blow their flutes from the porch, welcoming visitors into the Victorian-era residence complete with beveled windows and draping chandeliers.
When O'Bannon arrived at the scene alone, Clark told him that loud, disruptive music was thumping from the apartment across the hall. O'Bannon knocked on the lacquered oak door, but there was no answer. The noise coming from the apartment was so loud that "it was basically almost shaking the walls," O'Bannon said later. "I knocked on the door real hard so I could get somebody's attention inside, at which point the door just swung open."
Once inside, O'Bannon saw a large water bong on the end table near a couch and a group of friends watching a very loud Monday Night Football game. A thick cloud of marijuana smoke filled the room. The cranked volume of the television, it turned out, was a response to the loud music coming from the apartment below. "We were just sitting around watching the Broncos game, and the next thing I know, there's a cop walking in my house," resident Mike Perez later told a judge.
When O'Bannon asked who lived in the apartment, eighteen-year-old James Holmes walked toward the officer and said, "It's mine." O'Bannon searched Holmes, found a bag of meth in his front right pocket and placed him under arrest. The next officer to arrive, Trent Tatum, didn't witness O'Bannon's entrance, but as he walked through the lobby area, Tatum followed the scent of pot and "went to the noise, and that was apartment 2, where officer O'Bannon was in the room with about ten to fifteen people."
By the time O'Bannon and Tatum were finished fingering pockets and patting bodies, three people in Holmes's apartment were arrested for drug possession. When the partygoers blamed the apartment beneath them (where two DJs lived), O'Bannon walked downstairs, informed the resident his music was too loud and, after a quick search, arrested the DJ for drug possession. It was a killer find for O'Bannon: One complaint about loud music turned into four arrests for drugs from two different apartments.
At his hearing, Holmes's attorney, Robert Biondino, questioned Charles Snow, the longtime maintenance man at 1442 Humboldt and a former union carpenter. Snow had visited Holmes's party thirty minutes before the bust to check the score on the game and to use the apartment as a shortcut for loading supplies in the driveway. "I did it all the time," Snow said.
He testified that the door was attached to a "ceiling hinge" that automatically shut the door as it closed. In other words, the door couldn't rest ajar. To open the 100-pound door from the outside without turning the knob was, well, an accomplishment.
Snow also said he'd noticed nothing irregular about the door during his visit. In fact, he recalled Holmes needed to unlock the deadbolt to let him in. Officer O'Bannon testified that one of the partyers offered an explanation for the lazy door: The latch had broken when it was kicked in one week earlier.
But the O'Bannon version collides with the partygoers' sworn affidavits. All said O'Bannon searched Holmes without explanation or consent. All said that O'Bannon asked if he could search the apartment and that Holmes's response was "No." All said O'Bannon and other officers searched the apartment anyway.
Gabriel O'Connel, a next-door neighbor who was at the party, said, "The door was in full working order every time I used it, which was several times a day."
District Court Judge Richard Spriggs voided the search and seizure, noting that although he believed O'Bannon's story, the officer had still "inadvertently tripped over the Constitution."
"Certainly from the citizen's standpoint," Spriggs said, "it doesn't make too much difference whether the opening of the door is intentional or inadvertent. I mean, if his home is his castle, it's been breached, either intentionally or unintentionally, by the opening of the door."
"My problem," attorney Biondino now says, "is O'Bannon took it upon himself to open the door and walk right in himself. I thought that's why we fought a war in 1776--to prevent this from happening."
On behalf of O'Bannon and the people of Colorado, Deputy District Attorney Brian Allen appealed the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.
And on June 1, the court overruled Spriggs's decision. Justice Michael Bender declared that O'Bannon had legally investigated a disturbance call and was not responsible for the faulty door swinging open. That O'Bannon stumbled across illegal drugs was a bonus. (The judge openly wondered whether O'Bannon needed a warrant once he saw the bong from outside the apartment, but Holmes's attorneys did not pursue the issue.) Instead, the high court focused on the constitutional dilemma of the case, intrigued by the unusual facts created by O'Bannon's heavy knocking: If an officer "accidentally" opens a door to a man's home and runs headlong into a drug bust, is it still legal to enter? Since the court had faith in O'Bannon's story, the decision was easy: Yes.
But if investigators wanted to check the working condition of the door, it soon became impossible. The night after Holmes and his roommates were sent to jail, vandals broke into their vacant apartment, destroyed the locks on the windows, painted on the walls, kicked in doors and ruined the lock on the front door.
Attorney Mitchell Baker knows O'Bannon and Duncan's record well.
As a part-time public defender, he has represented two clients against O'Bannon and Duncan; one of them was Carl Moten. While preparing Moten's case, Baker earned a rare privilege not afforded to average citizens: He won a motion to view the officers' confidential records.
"Based on the allegation, I felt there was a possibility there might be information in those files that might be of use in defending Mr. Moten," Baker says. He is prohibited from discussing what he read and makes great effort to emphasize that "the fact that the court gave me the files should not be read to imply that there was anything in those files that was anything good or bad."
Yet Baker can discuss the cases of public record.
"I've had cases with them before," he says, taking a long pause. "There are cases where things they've said were...interesting." Taking another long pause, Baker adds, "Those cases also involve minorities."
Another public defender, who asked not be identified, corroborated Baker's claims. "You see all these arrests by them, and if you line them all up, they all match: young black males. And most likely, there's a question regarding probable cause or with consent for search."
On May 24, 1998, at 8:25 p.m., O'Bannon and Duncan pulled over a tan Ford truck driven by nineteen-year-old Darrel Davis at 1500 Sherman Street, one block from the State Capitol. In the passenger seat was twenty-year-old Michael Oliphant. The officers ran the plates on the truck, and it came back listed as a Mazda--they believed the vehicle was stolen.
In his report, Duncan wrote that while Davis's truck was pulling to a stop, the officers noticed both occupants "bend down and appear to put something under the seat." Based on this, the officers ordered Davis and Oliphant out of the car and onto the sidewalk while they searched for weapons. Instead of finding a gun or a knife, O'Bannon and Duncan found a rock of crack cocaine and arrested the two black males for possession of a controlled substance.
"The odd thing was the happenstance to run the plates on this street, of these two black males," Baker says. "This car was doing nothing odd, nothing suspicious. Here's a guy minding his own business, driving the streets, and they chose to run his plates." The officers testified that running random plates during a shift was normal. The make on the plates had come up Mazda because Ford produces Mazda cars--Davis and Oliphant were never charged with driving a stolen vehicle. Davis had borrowed a friend's car, the officers learned.
At the trial, Baker railed on Duncan until he contradicted himself so badly that he had little credibility.
Baker noticed that Duncan had made a "mistake" filling out Davis and Oliphant's Miranda advisement card, which officers use to document the time they read an arrestee his rights.
After a string of tedious questioning, Baker established that O'Bannon and Duncan had filled out their paperwork separately, never trading notes on the facts of the case. Duncan quipped, "I use the computer and he uses the typewriter."
But, Baker argued, "since you never talked to O'Bannon to get your facts straight, it would have been impossible for him to make exactly the same error you made, isn't that correct?"
Duncan: "I assume so, yes."
Baker approached Duncan to show him O'Bannon's Miranda advisement card. "What time did Officer O'Bannon advise Mr. Davis of his rights?" Baker asked.
"It would be 8:07 p.m."
"Eighteen minutes before you stopped the vehicle? Isn't that correct?"
"That's correct, according to that."
"That couldn't have happened if you guys hadn't talked about this, could it have, officer?"
"I can't comment on that."
"There is no explanation for that, is there, officer?"
"Sure it is--put down the wrong time."
"You both inadvertently put the wrong time without having spoken to each other?"
Duncan: "That's correct."
Despite the showmanship, Baker's point was clear. Either Duncan was capable of lying under oath, or the two officers were strangely, inordinately incompetent.
O'Bannon and Duncan collect almost as many awards as arrests.
The duo has received fourteen official commendation letters from the top brass for outstanding deeds, mostly drug busts. Once the pair even chased down a thief who had snatched the donation box from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
And in February, the officers received their most prestigious recognition yet: a merit award signed by Chief of Police Tom Sanchez for their "outstanding job in District 6 regarding narcotics investigations." They were credited with making approximately 10 percent of all drug arrests in Capitol Hill.
The merit award read, "Officer O'Bannon and Duncan's testimony has put many of these drug dealers and users in the Department of Corrections...
"Through [their] efforts, drug dealing and usage in the Capitol Hill area is being significantly reduced and systematically eliminated."
Captain John Weber of the civil liabilities unit hailed their accomplishments as "extraordinary."
But the celebrating wouldn't last long. Two weeks later, a Capitol Hill resident filed a civil lawsuit against the two officers and the Denver Police Department.
On New Year's Eve 1998, O'Bannon and Duncan arrived at the one-bedroom apartment of a forty-five-year-old woman who had phoned a suicide hotline and abruptly ended the conversation.
After opening the door with guarded hesitance, the woman allowed the two officers into her home. Duncan asked her for identification. She walked to the bedroom to retrieve her purse. Duncan followed, saying he wanted to make sure no one was hiding in the apartment.
The woman told Duncan she felt uncomfortable having two men in her home--that she had been the victim of a rape a year earlier, to which Duncan made "a sarcastic comment." Three times, she asked Duncan not to follow her closely.
In her lawsuit, the woman, a paralegal, complained that "Duncan stated that he was the police and that he could do anything he wanted to do. Defendant O'Bannon then entered [the apartment] also. Duncan was loud and belligerent."
She claims Duncan eyed her panties on the bedroom floor and "stared intently."
"He started to move away and then went back to stare again." She told the duo, "You are not acting normally."
"We're not acting normally?" one of the officers said. They traded glances of amusement, she claims.
Then, with the two officers in her home, the woman dialed 911 and begged the dispatcher to send a supervisor to the scene. O'Bannon reportedly laughed at the gesture and said she would "just get more of them." When she crouched to the ground and tried to call her brother, O'Bannon ripped the cord from the wall.
The woman was lifted from the floor and placed in handcuffs. The officers sat her in a chair and dressed her in socks, shoes and a coat. O'Bannon joked to Duncan that this was the part of the job he "really hated."
As they led the woman out of her apartment, Sergeant Dave Watts arrived on bicycle. The woman complained about the duo's behavior and refused to ride in a car driven by either of the officers. Though he was on a bike, Watts promised to follow the patrol car driven by O'Bannon. Complaining that it was New Year's Eve and the officers were very busy, O'Bannon took the woman to Denver Health Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
She was detained for two and a half hours, then released with no after-care instructions. Besides her lawsuit, she also filed a complaint with the Public Safety Review Commission, a quasi-citizen review board. In June the commission voted to forward her complaint to internal affairs for an official investigation, the duo's tenth.
The police department's internal affairs office won't release the number of citizen complaints received for individual officers. Under state statute 24-72-204, the statistics are considered "personal file information" and are not available for review by the public. Trend reports do exist, however, and are passed along to the chief's office, but no one in the department would comment on the number of investigations racked up by O'Bannon and Duncan. Even the citizen review board keeps the number of complaints received confidential.
Officers O'Bannon and Duncan declined to be interviewed for this article.
Carl Moten, with more than thirty arrests on his record and several aliases and addresses, is a free man.
The jury at Moten's trial listened to the details of his drug arrest inside Lynch's apartment and stuck at 7-5 not guilty until one juror swayed to make it 6-6. Judge William Meyer declared a mistrial, and instead of waiting weeks, possibly months, for a new trial, Moten quickly pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge--a minor blemish on his lengthy record.
O'Bannon and Duncan's stories didn't gel when they testified at Moten's trial.
O'Bannon said Harvey Lynch resisted arrest and the duo had to "put him down."
"We never took him to the ground," Duncan said.
O'Bannon said the officers didn't say a word when they approached Lynch's door.
They identified themselves, Duncan said.
In his written report following the bust, Duncan found Lynch's butcher knife--the evidence that gave the team probable cause to enter the apartment in the first place--under the sofa in the living room. When asked in court if he found the knife, Duncan replied, "No, I did not."
After he was shown his statement, he recalled finding the knife.
Moten says of O'Bannon, "He said he saw me smoking crack, man. Now, come on, who is going to light a pipe when the cops are right outside the bedroom?" Moten never testified, but he insists that O'Bannon burst into the apartment, cuffed Lynch, rounded up everyone and started searching bodies as if it were an old-style shakedown--no explanation, no request for consent. Moten denies holding drugs that night. He says drugs found in the side cushion of the couch were pinned on him. Since his release, Moten, who goes by "Easy" on the streets, has vanished.
In the Detour macing incident, O'Bannon is scheduled for trial August 18. He's off patrol and now works in the office at District 6.
In James Holmes's case, which the Colorado Supreme Court sent back to the District Court, Holmes's attorneys are currently trying to settle his drug-possession charge out of court. While Holmes was in jail, his apartment was looted, and when he returned home, he was evicted.
The case involving Oliphant and Davis was thrown out after Judge Spriggs listened to the officers' testimony. In a rare action, Spriggs ended the trial immediately after the prosecution presented its case. Before he'd even heard the defense's argument, Spriggs concluded that the prosecution's evidence would fail to result in a guilty charge. "That was the first time in my twenty years that I had seen that," said a surprised but happy Baker. (Spriggs was a lifetime prosecutor and now heads the U.S. Attorney Criminal Division--he's hardly a soft-on-crime judge.)
The civil lawsuit filed by the Capitol Hill woman after the officers responded to her suicide-hotline call is still awaiting a trial date.
At least three other cases involving O'Bannon and Duncan are in the hands of public defenders. Attorneys won't discuss details of the cases publicly, citing confidentiality restraints.
However, the public defenders will eagerly challenge the arrests on points of probable cause or consent to search because now word is that believing O'Bannon and Duncan is difficult.
And that makes scoring crack easy.