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Defendant Alleges Faulty Search Warrant

Warrants to search and arrest on drug crimes are often more complicated than those of other crimes. The case law on drug crimes seems to change on a daily basis depending on the political motivations at the time of the case. Currently, officers are allowed more latitude to rely on experience for articulable reasonable suspicion to stop a person even on a Terry stop than they were just a few years ago. The ground of probable cause based off of the articulable suspicion then becomes convoluted. It is not uncommon for a warrant to be signed that is later ruled inadmissible due to many unforeseeable factors. The scope of the search may be overstated, or understated. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the officers involved in the search may overstep their boundaries. The information that the warrant was issued on may even be proven false or incorrect in a later hearing of the facts of the case. Just because the police have obtained a warrant, does not mean that the warrant cannot be challenged.

On December 6, 1999, a search warrant was executed in Queens County by the detectives who had obtained the warrant. They had presented their probable cause to obtain the warrant based on the fact that they had a confidential informant who had purchased marijuana at the first floor apartment on two previous occasions. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the detectives had gone to the location and observed the actions that were taking place there. They had checked with the utility company and verified that the location was a residence. The confidential informant had stated that the drugs had been purchased by a man known only to him as Greg and that Greg had gone into the first floor apartment to retrieve the drugs. The officers described the location as a first floor and basement apartment of a two story red brick building. The apartment is located behind a restaurant at the same address.

When the officers executed the search warrant, they located several items in plain view. They recovered marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and other drug related items. During the search of the residence per the warrant, one of the defendants made several exculpatory statements to the detectives. The defendants were arrested and charged with their crimes. They filed motions to suppress the evidence and statements on the grounds that the search warrant affidavit failed to establish proper probable cause for the warrant to be valid. The items were suppressed and the prosecution filed an appeal of the suppression.

After examining the evidence and the warrant in this case, the Supreme Court Justices determined that there was ample probable cause set forth in the warrant to make it valid. They reversed the lower court’s ruling to suppress the evidence and the statements that were made to the detectives while the search warrant was being executed. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said the court noted that the fact that the confidential informant had observed a subject, Greg, enter the location on two separate occasions and purchase drugs. That is enough evidence to lead a reasonable and prudent man to believe that a crime is has or will be committed at that location and that the persons involved in the crime are the defendants. That is probable cause to obtain a warrant and an arrest of the subjects in the apartment.

Since the warrant was ruled to be valid, the evidence that was seized under the warrant is also valid and is not to be excluded from trial. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said the defense made a compelling argument that passed the lower court. However, since the warrant was ruled valid on probable cause, there was little chance of suppressing evidence that was located in plain view inside the apartment on the warrant.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates has experienced lawyers who can assist you. They can help you if your home has been the product of a search warrant. They have convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area.

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