I have a case coming up for suppression and I want your thoughts on the case.
D is standing around a truck that is located across the street, in front of a "dope house" that the police have a search warrant for.
An undercover makes a control buy before executing the warrant and identifies John Doe, as the dope dealer.
Officers move in and execute the warrant, which they find drugs, money, weapons, etc. At the same time, the D along with other male subjects who were standing around the truck across the street are detained.
The dash cam video shows the officers storming the male subjects with their weapons out and commanding them to get down. The D is seen tossing out of his pocket a plastic bag, later found to be 4.86g of cocaine.
The Defense is arguing that the Officers lacked PC and RS to make the seizure since the police reports do not provide sufficient facts to justify the seizure. The only significant facts are that 1 of the officers stated in his report that "the male subjects were involved with the dope house."
I know I can put the officer on the stand and he can clarify, but will it be enough? Since his report and the other officers reports do not mention any facts as to why they seized the D and male subjects, besides the statement that they were involved with the dope house.
The Defense submitted a brief in support of the MTS and it looks pretty good, I have to say. The Defense's main argument is Hawkins v. State, in which the CCA held that an illegal seizure taints any evidence derived from police misconduct.
Any ideas or suggestions? Thank you.
It seems like this was abandoned property because he voluntarily threw the dope out of his pocket. Not sure if any "illegal" seizure taints abandonment, but it would seem like there is some attenuation there. Maybe something to look at....
Agree that you have a good argument on abandoned property. There is a lot of good case law on that. It sounds like the abandonment occurred prior to any illegal detention of the suspect. If the Defendant made any incriminating statements you may lose those, but it doesn't sound like you need them.
I like the abandonment for the suppression issue, but you also have a possible Tampering with Evidence 3rd degree.
You are not limited to the PC or RS that the officers mention in their offense reports. If the officers had other reasons not mentioned in their report, let them testify to those reasons. Cops often have additional confidential info they do not want to reveal in an offense report, but by the time of a suppression hearing it may no longer be a problem revealing their info. Or they may have simply left it out of their report because they didn't understand it's legal importance. Don't let a weak offense report limit your ability to get valuable evidence before the fact finder.
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