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Court Discusses Presence of Reasonable Suspicion


Two police officers were patrolling in a police car which they parked near Washington Heights. They were assigned here because the area of Washington Heights was known as a high traffic area for selling drugs especially to people from outside of New York, particularly, from people in New Jersey.

As the two cops were walking, they saw a Cherokee Jeep with New Jersey license plates. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said they saw a Caucasian male park the Jeep and get down from it. They saw him approach a Hispanic looking man who was yelling for the Caucasian passenger of the Jeep to come over to where he was.

As the Caucasian male was walking toward the Hispanic man, he saw the police officer walking toward them. The Caucasian man backtracked and ran to his vehicle, and drove away.

The Hispanic man had his back toward the police officers. He didn’t see them but he saw the reaction of the Caucasian man so he looked behind him. That was when he saw the police officers. They called the Hispanic man over but he kept walking away from the police officer until he started running full speed.

The police officers chased the Hispanic man. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said that as he was speeding away, he began taking something out of his jacket pocket. He threw onto a pile of garbage bag what looked to the police officers as a brown paper bag.

As one police officer continued chasing the Hispanic man, the other police officer stopped to retrieve the brown paper bag thrown out by him onto the pile of garbage. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said when the police officer opened the brown paper bag, he saw that it had foil sachets that had a white powder that looked like cocaine.

The other police officer succeeded in apprehending the Hispanic man and placed him under arrest. He was later charged with criminal cocaine sale and criminal cocaine possession. He was arraigned and then after trial, he was found guilty by a jury verdict only of criminal cocaine possession.

The Hispanic man appeals his conviction on the ground that the police had no reason to approach him. They had no reason to chase him and they had no reason to arrest him. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer said he claimed that he was only approached by the police on the mere basis that he was Hispanic. He asked that the evidence of the tinfoil sachets with the cocaine by suppressed and not admitted as evidence against him. The trial court admitted the evidence.

The Court then was called upon to decide on whether or not the officers had probable cause to believe that a crime was being committed. If the police officers had probable cause then the evidence obtained during the chase is admissible against the Hispanic man.

The Court held that the officers had a reasonable suspicion that a crime was about to take place: first, the police officers were veterans and they had been assigned to the same general area for three years. They have had experience of drug sales going on in that area and the customers were usually from out of state, mostly from New Jersey. Second, the Jeep that pulled up was a car registered in New Jersey. Third, the man in the Jeep fled when he saw the police approaching. Fourth, the Hispanic man also fled when he saw the police approaching. Fifth, the man threw something out from his jacket pocket which was packed in the same packaging as drugs sold on the street. Sixth, the bag from the man’s pocket was thrown onto a pile of garbage bag on the curb right next to the street; it was in plain and open view. Seventh, when the police officers opened the bag that they retrieved, it confirmed their reasonable suspicion that indeed, a crime was being committed.

The Court found that when the police were about to approach the man, they still had no reasonable suspicion. But when the man in the Jeep ran and then the Hispanic man also ran, that was reasonable suspicion that a crime was afoot . This holding is necessary to deal with the reality on the streets.

Were you chased by police officers? Were you arrested for criminal cocaine sale or criminal cocaine possession? You need to be represented by a New York Drug Crime Lawyer. You need a New York City Drug Crime lawyer who can argue in your behalf. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates and ask to confer with any of their NYC Drug attorneys. Their NY Drug lawyers are willing and able to assist and defend you. Visist the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates in the New York area.

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