Defendant and co-defendants were charged with three counts of violating Penal Law § 160.15(4), Robbery in the First Degree as a class B felony; three counts of violating Penal Law § 160.15(2), Robbery in the First Degree as a class B felony; three counts of violating Penal Law § 160.10(1), Robbery in the Second Degree as a class C felony; one count of violating Penal Law § 265.03(1)(b), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree as a class C felony; one count of violating Penal Law § 265.03(3), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree as a class C felony; one count of violating Penal Law § 155.40(1), Grand larceny in the Second Degree as a class C felony; one count of violating Penal Law § 145.10, Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree as a class D felony and one count of violating Penal Law § 140.35, Possession of Burglar’s Tool as a class A misdemeanor.
A Nassau County Criminal lawyer said that on March 1, 5, 6, 8, and 12, 2012, after motion practice by the attorneys, this Court conducted a Huntley, Mapp, and Dunaway hearing. The Huntley hearing pertained to various oral and written statements allegedly made by defendants. The Mapp hearing pertained to items allegedly seized from 2 defendants. The Dunaway hearing pertained to probable cause for the arrest of the 2 defendants.
This Court finds the testimony of 4 Police Officers, and 4 Detectives. An Officer testified that on October 14, 2011, he was working a 7 am to 7 pm tour of duty for the Nassau County Police Department. He was in uniform, working alone, in a marked Nassau County Police vehicle. At approximately 1:52 pm, he was on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset, Nassau County, taking an accident report. While taking the accident report, he received a radio assignment for a robbery at the a jewelry store in Manhasset. The radio assignment indicated that the suspects were male blacks, that they were armed with multiple handguns, and that they fled in a black Cadillac Escalade (hereinafter referred to as the “Escalade”).He pursued the Escalade onto the Long Island Expressway Service Road and then onto the Long Island Expressway. As the traffic on the Long Island Expressway slowed down, he observed four (4) to five (5) male black individuals jump out of the Escalade while it was still moving, run across the traffic lanes of the Long Island Expressway, jump over the center barrier, and exit the Long Island Expressway.
Defense counsels argue that there was no reason or basis for the stop of the Escalade in which the defendants were traveling. Defense counsel for defendant points out that the description of the alleged fleeing suspects was “multiple male blacks in an Escalade.” He argues that since Officer testified that he only observed two male blacks in an Escalade, the description did not match. Defense counsels also argue that there was no reason or basis to arrest each defendant since, at the time of their arrests, they were not doing anything wrong. Defense counsels argue that none of the statements allegedly given by their clients were voluntary since their clients were either injured, wet, tired or hungry.
In addition, defense counsel for defendant argues that the People elicited testimony regarding two statements allegedly made by Reggie Fowler for which the People failed to give any prior notice. Defense counsel moves to suppress those statements.
The People argue that the Police had a basis to stop the Escalade which fled from the Police. The People also argue that there was probable cause to arrest and search each of the defendants. The People further argue that the statements made by the defendants were voluntarily given.
The Officer testified that he received a radio assignment regarding the robbery at the Jewelers store in Manhasset. The radio assignment indicated that the suspects were male blacks who fled the scene in a black Cadillac Escalade. He then observed a black Cadillac Escalade, traveling westbound on Northern Boulevard, with two (2) male black occupants. Criminal Defense counsel’s argument that his observations did not provide him with a reasonable basis to stop the black Cadillac Escalade is simply absurd. It is clear that the Officer observed a vehicle fitting the exact description of the alleged getaway vehicle in the immediate vicinity of the robbery. Whether he observed, at that point, two (2) criminal suspects or multiple suspects is of no moment.
Upon, Officer attempting to pull the black Cadillac Escalade over, the vehicle fled and a high speed chase ensued. Thereafter, he observed the vehicle committing various Vehicle and Traffic Law violations, including traveling at speeds of up to one hundred (100) miles per mile, driving on the wrong side of the street, and crashing into a marked Police car. Further, he witnessed four (4) to five (5) male black individuals leap out of a moving vehicle, run across busy traffic lanes of the Long Island Expressway, jump over a concrete center barrier, and race from the Long Island Expressway.
Since this Court finds that there was probable cause to arrest each of the defendants, the search of each defendant, at the scene of their arrest, was legally permissible as a search incident to a lawful arrest.
During a search of defendant, a watch was recovered. Defendant’s argument that Officer’s removal of his pants amounted to a public strip search is factually inaccurate. Officer testified that defendant was wearing two (2) pairs of pants and it was necessary to remove the first pair to gain access to the hard object which Officer detected in his cuff. Therefore, the removal of the first pair of pants did not render defendant “naked” by any stretch of the imagination.
Regarding the oral statement allegedly made by defendant to Officer, it is clear that the defendant was in Police custody at the time he made the oral statement, since he had been arrested at the golf course. Although he had not been read his “ Miranda Warnings ” prior to making said statement, this Court finds that the defendant was neither being questioned nor interrogated by Officer Alter at the time he made the statement. Therefore, “ Miranda Warnings ” were not required. This Court further finds that said statement was spontaneously and voluntarily made by defendant to Police Officer. Therefore, defendant’s motion to suppress the oral statement made to Officer is hereby denied.
Regarding the oral and written statements allegedly made by defendant to Detective, the People elicited testimony from Detective that he introduced himself and asked defendant if he wanted to give a statement. Defendant responded “yes.” Detective testified that he read to defendant his “ Miranda Warnings ” using a Miranda card, which was admitted into evidence as People’s Exhibit 1. Detective asked defendant if he understood his rights and was willing to answer questions.
Defendant indicated that he understood his rights, signed and initialed the Miranda card, and agreed to answer questions. Defendant made various oral statements to Detective. The latter reduced defendant’s oral statements to written statements. Defendant read the written statements and signed the written statements. Defendant made written changes to his second written statement and read the statement out loud. It is clear that defendant was in custody at the time he made the oral and written statements to Detective.
The Court holds that defendant was properly advised of his “ Miranda Warnings ” by Detective, and that he knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived his right to remain silent, and agreed to answer the questions of Detective. This Court further finds that defendant voluntarily provided the written statements. This Court concludes that the oral and written statements made by defendant to Detective were voluntarily made without any threats, physical force or coercion. Consequently, defendant’s motion to suppress the oral and written statements made to Detective is hereby denied.
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