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Defendant Seeks Appeal Regarding Suppression of Evidence

People v. Gregory

2018 NY Slip Op 05332

Decision

This is an appeal by Queens County Supreme Court where the defendant was convicted of second-degree burglary; second degree attempted burglary; fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of petit larceny. The defendant brings an appeal requiring suppression of physical evidence and statements made by the defendant. The appellate court affirmed.

The previous court had denied suppression of the presence of a knapsack, which was recovered by police and contained electronics. At the suppression hearing, the police were in the process of investigating 25 burglaries that had happened in the same area, and in the same time frame. The defendant had placed a bottle on the sidewalk and walked away. When the police approached the defendant, the defendant fled. The officers chased him. During the chase, the police also collected a glass bottle which had money in it.

The police were in the process of investigating a pattern of burglaries that had happened in the same area. This provided police reasonable suspicion and their pursuit was justified (People v Leung 68 NY2d 734, People v Stephens 47 AD3d 586). The court felt that when the defendant abandoned the knapsack, the defendant did act in a way that involved a calculated risk that it would be discarded (People v Santiago 206 AD2d 492, People v Coleman 125 AD3d 879). The court said the police did indeed have justified reasonable suspicion, the abandonment was not caused by illegal conduct. This court agrees with the prior court’s determination that allowing the evidence of the knapsack and its contents were correct (People v Buie 89 AD3d 748).

The defendant says that the trial made a mistake in denying this application to proceed on a “pro se” basis (Faretta v California 422 US 806, People v McIntyre 36 NY2d 10, People v Littlejohn 92 AD3d 898). The court said that the right to defend one’s self is a qualified right. A defendant has right to defend themselves if: the request is unequivocal, the defendant knowingly waived their right to counsel, and the defendant hasn’t engaged in conduct which would prevent the disposition of issues.

In this instance, the defendant didn’t make an unambiguous pro se request. He was unable to intelligently waive his right to counsel. This was due to the fact that he believed that the Uniform Commercial Code governed his criminal case. He was also unwilling to communicate with counsel and the court (US v Pryor 842 F2d 441). The court was correct in its exercising its discretion (People v Littlejohn 92 AD3d 898).

The defendant contended in his own supplemental brief that certain physical evidence that was on his person should have been suppressed at trial (CPL 470.05). The court found this argument without merit.

Judgment was affirmed.

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