Carlee Russell’s Faked Kidnapping Exposes Justice System Flaws, Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney Says

Oakland, CA – August 2023: In a shocking turn of events, Carlethia ‘Carlee’ Nichole Russell, the nursing student who was reported missing after calling 911 claiming she saw a toddler walking along the interstate, has been charged with filing a false police report and filing a false statement. The charges, both misdemeanors, were announced during a press conference held by the Hoover Police Department in Alabama.

Oakland criminal defense attorney, Jo-Anna Nieves, believes that this case sheds light on the flaws in the justice system. Nieves emphasizes the importance of thorough police work and proper investigation from the start, as it can prevent innocent individuals from being wrongly accused and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit or that did not even occur as in this case. While Carlee Russell’s spurious accusations did not result in the falsely accused being charged, in many other cases, it does. Nieves maintains that a deeper exploration of reported statements m and advocating for fairness are necessary to ensure justice is served in all cases.

During the press conference, Police Chief Nick Derzis acknowledged the frustration and disappointment felt by the public. He revealed that the police department has not been able to uncover any information about Russell’s whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing, nor have they confirmed that she acted alone.

This revelation highlights the impact of false reports and the consequences they have on individuals and the justice system.

In light of this case, Jo-Anna Nieves, owner and managing attorney of The Nieves Law Firm in Oakland,  offers five valuable tips for individuals falsely accused of a crime.

1.     Seek Legal Representation Immediately

Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney should be your first step if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime. Having the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. A criminal defense attorney can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and offer valuable advice.

They will act as your advocate and protect your interests throughout the proceedings. When seeking legal representation, consider the attorney’s experience, criminal law expertise, and track record in handling similar cases.

2.     Stay Calm and Cooperate with Authorities

Maintaining composure and cooperating with law enforcement are essential in any encounter with the authorities. Stay calm and collected during police encounters, even if you feel stressed or anxious. Avoid engaging in confrontational behavior or providing false information.

Being respectful and cooperative can help establish a more positive rapport with the officers involved or, at a minimum, keep you safe. However, remember that cooperation does not mean forfeiting your rights. If you’re being questioned or have been arrested, you have the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney before answering any questions.

3.     Document Everything

Accurate documentation of all interactions with law enforcement is crucial for building a strong defense. Record dates, times, locations, and the names or badge numbers of the officers involved in each encounter.

Take note of any conversations, searches, or requests made by the authorities. This documentation can serve as critical evidence in case of any misunderstandings or potential violations of your rights. Organize this information systematically to make it easier for your attorney to assess and strategize your defense.

4.     Gather Evidence and Witnesses

To strengthen your defense and establish your innocence or alibi effectively, work with your attorney on collecting the following types of evidence and information:

  • Surveillance Footage: Look for any nearby cameras or security systems that may have captured the incident or your whereabouts during the alleged time frame.
  • Photographs: Gather relevant pictures that can support your case, such as images of your activities or interactions on the day in question.
  • Receipts or Documentation: Keep track of receipts, invoices, or any other documents that provide a clear record of your movements or actions on the specific date.
  • Witnesses’ Statements: If there were people present at the scene or who can vouch for your whereabouts, obtain their statements or testimonies to corroborate your side of the story.
  • Digital Evidence: If applicable, retrieve data from electronic devices that might reveal relevant information or alibi support.
  • Communication Records: Save text messages, emails, or social media interactions that demonstrate your activities and interactions around the time in question.
  • Physical Evidence: Preserve tangible items to disprove the allegations or support your innocence.

The more evidence you gather, the stronger your defense will be. It is important to act quickly to ensure evidence is not lost or compromised. Consult with your attorney for guidance on how to proceed with gathering and presenting this evidence effectively.

5.     Preserve Your Digital Footprint

Refrain from deleting any social media posts, text messages, emails, or other digital content that might be relevant to your case. Such information can be used to establish your whereabouts, intentions, or interactions with others during the relevant time period.

Your digital footprint can be valuable in supporting your defense and countering any false allegations made by the prosecution. Inform your attorney about any potentially relevant digital evidence you may have, as they can help you determine its significance and admissibility in court.

The Nieves Law Firm is committed to providing legal representation to individuals facing criminal charges. No matter the charges you’re facing, whether an assault charge or a DUI, with their extensive experience in the field, they strive to ensure that justice is served and the rights of their clients are protected.

For more information, please visit their website at

About The Nieves Law Firm

The Nieves Law Firm is a reputable criminal defense law firm based in Oakland, CA. With a team of experienced attorneys, they provide aggressive and effective legal representation to individuals facing criminal charges. Their mission is to protect the rights of their clients and ensure that justice is served.

Schedule a consultation with their firm online or visit one of their California locations at:

  • 160 Franklin St # 210, Oakland, CA 94607
  • 9701 Fair Oaks Blvd Suite 203, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
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