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Defendant Questions Probable Cause in Arrest

Two known low-level drug dealers who sold marijuana were found shot in the apartment they shared. The police were investigating the murders. The police then questioned their known associates. A New York Criminal Lawyer said one of the murder victims’ known associates the police talked to admitted that he was in the apartment on the day before the murders and saw a man from the Caribbean buy half a pound of marijuana from the victims.

The known associate also told the police that the man from the Caribbean agreed to buy at least thirty kilos of a new shipment of marijuana from the murder victims. They agreed to meet the next day so that the man from the Caribbean can finally buy the marijuana. The police detective showed the known associate of the murder victims and he identified a picture of the man from the Caribbean.

The police detectives went in search of the man from the Caribbean and found him in an apartment. When the police were near the apartment door, they could smell the odor of marijuana. So the police detectives pounded on the door of the apartment. The man from the Caribbean came to th door. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the police detectives could smell the marijuana odor emanating from the open doorway of the apartment. They then asked the man from the Caribbean to step out of the apartment. They frisked him and handcuffed him. The officers asked him if there were any other occupants or residents in the apartment and the man from the Caribbean said that his brothers and his girlfriend were in there.

The police then shouted for those occupants to come out and four people, all of them under aged came out one by one from the apartment. They were also lined up against the wall, frisked and handcuffed. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said all of them were brought to the police precinct for questioning. The officers then sealed the apartment and put a guard there while a search warrant was applied for and obtained so that the apartment could be searched. They found a brick of pressed and dried marijuana leaves weighing about one kilogram.

At the police precinct, the man from the Caribbean and his girlfriend were questioned not about the brick of marijuana found in the apartment but about the murder of the two low-level drug dealers the police were investigating. The man from the Caribbean at first refused to give a statement. The girlfriend, however, gave a statement. The police quickly gave the girlfriend the Miranda warnings which the woman promptly waived. She then gave a full statement implicating her boyfriend. Her statement informed the police that the man from the Caribbean went to the drug dealers’ apartment three times waiting for the shipment of marijuana he wanted to buy in bulk. When the shipment still had not arrived, there was an argument. The man from the Caribbean shot the two drug dealers.

The police then took the girlfriend’s statement and read it to the man from the Caribbean. He changed his mind and decided to give a statement. The police then gave him the Miranda warnings which he waived. He gave a statement which the police took down in writing. After the statement was written, the police officers asked the man from the Caribbean to read his statement and to go over it in case he wanted to add something. The man from the Caribbean added more information on another sheet of paper and signed that, too.

The man from the Caribbean and his girlfriend were charged with criminal marijuana possession and for the murder of the two drug dealers. All the brothers of the man from the Caribbean were released.

After the arraignment, the man from the Caribbean and his girlfriend sought to have excluded the brick of marijuana which was seized from his apartment for lack of probable cause; they also sought to exclude the statements made by them to the police. The only question before the Court is whether or not the object evidence and the statements should be excluded and deemed inadmissible into evidence.

The Court held that when the police arrived, they had no probable cause to suppose that the man from the Caribbean had committed a crime except as he was identified by one of the witnesses to the murder of the drug dealers as one of the last persons to see the drug dealers alive.

When the police officers arrived at the apartment and they smelled the odor of marijuana, they had probable cause to approach the apartment. They knocked and identified themselves and the man from the Caribbean answered the door. The apartment was dark and so the police acted reasonably when they asked the occupants to exit. The brick of marijuana cannot be excluded because it was seized by virtue of a search warrant.

The Court held that the police had no probable cause to suppose that the girlfriend was connected with the murder of the two drug dealers. They also had no probable cause to arrest the girlfriend for criminal marijuana possession. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said there was no proof that she owned it or was keeping it. Her arrest and the statements made by her to the police would therefore have to be excluded as statements made after an unlawful arrest. The statements were obtained when the police knowingly took advantage of the unlawful arrest of the girlfriend.

The man from the Caribbean was arrested with probable cause. The police had information that he had purchased marijuana from the murdered drug dealers. There were two statements made by the man at the time he was in custody at the precinct. He made oral statements prior to being given the Miranda warnings and the written statements were made after he was given the Miranda warnings. The oral statements are suppressed because he gave then without being Mirandized but the written statements are admissible as he had already been Mirandized and he waived his Miranda rights.

Have you been arrested by police officers who claimed to have smelled the odor of marijuana near your home? You need to ask for a Bronx Drug lawyer when you are placed in custody. A Bronx Drug Crime attorney will explain to you the nature of the charges against you. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Bronx Drug Crime attorneys are willing to defend you. Their Bronx Drug Crime lawyers are willing to argue your innocence of the charges against you. Come and visit the office of Stephen Bilkis and Associates in the Bronx today.

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