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Defendant Claims 4th Amendment Rights have been Violated


The people of the state of New York are the respondents in this particular case. The appellant in the case is Jessie Dunn. The case is being heard in the Fourth Department, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

This case for appeal deals with the question of whether the rights of the defendant were violated under the fourth amendment of the constitution.

Case Background

The appellant was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and seventh degree (drug possession), criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminal possession of pot, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon, and marijuana possession. The appellant was tried for these charges jointly with codefendant Henry Hill.

The evidence that was used during the trial included several items that were obtained through execution of two search warrants. The searches included the two apartments that the defendants were leasing at the time. The first search took place on the 12th of May, 1988, in the defendant’s apartment that was located in Hamburg. During the search the officers found large quantities of marijuana and cocaine as well as drug paraphernalia, $6200 in cash, and two handguns (possession of a weapon). This led to the second warrant that was executed the following day at the defendant’s apartment located in Cheektowaga. The second search yielded more drugs and drug paraphernalia.


The defendant states that the court has erred in denying his motion to suppress without a hearing. The defendant also states that the first warrant was not issued properly as it was based on a positive result of a canine sniff test that was conducted without a warrant. He states that the balance of information that was obtained by the application for the warrant failed to establish probable cause for his apartment in Hamburg to be searched. The defendant is not challenging the second warrant, but if the first warrant fails, the second warrant must fail as well.

Case Discussion and Decision

The facts that are relevant to the case include sworn affidavits from the police officer, Investigator Joseph Gramaglia and the dog handler, Officer Leon Senecal. These affidavits show that when the first warrant was issued the magistrate had information from a Police Sergeant, Kenneth Gellart, who lives adjacent to the defendant’s apartment located in Hamburg. The officer states that the defendant would only be in the apartment for a short period before leaving with a bag or a briefcase. He states that on more than one occasion he smelled marijuana coming from the apartment. These complaints are what led to the dog coming to the hallway of the apartment building.

The court has reviewed all of the facts that led up to the warrants and eventual arrests of the defendant. It is found that the warrants were issued according to the facts that were established in the case. The second warrant was a direct result of the findings from the first warrant.

It is found that the rights of the defendant in regard to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution have not been violated. The court is dismissing the appeal that has been made by the defendant in this case. The previous judgment in the matter is upheld.

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