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Defendant Contends Identification Procedures by Police Incorrect


Stalking is a crime that affects everyone who is around the intended victim of the crime. Stalking is a crime that causes a pervasive level of fear that is intolerable for most people. However, a New York Criminal Lawyer said people who have never seen this crime often have a difficult time understanding that the stalker is so focused on their victim that they often do not consider the penalty involved in their actions. The drive to possess that other person is so strong that they will often do anything within their power to have that person and to prevent anyone else from having that person.

In 2008, a woman was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend in New York. She had moved on with her life and was seeing a co-worker romantically. One day while they were at work, her ex-boyfriend showed up. A Staten Island Criminal Lawyer said he began insisting that the woman talk to him. The new boyfriend approached the pair and assessed the situation. He realized that the situation was about to get violent and had the man removed from the business. He thought that the incident was over, but the following day while they were driving to work, the ex-boyfriend drove up beside them on the roadway and brandished a knife in their direction. They refused to pull over and began driving toward the local police station. On their way to the police station, the stalker rammed their mini-van with his car.

Coincidentally, a patrol car was positioned at the street corner just up from the location of the assault with the motor vehicle. The officers heard the impact that they recognized in their experience to be the result of a motor vehicle accident. They immediately turned their patrol car onto the roadway in the direction of the impact sound. When they were on the road, they observed the mini-van and the couple inside the mini-van. The couple motioned to the officers that the car that was behind them needed to be stopped. The officers observed the stalker driving at a high rate of speed in reverse. He changed his direction and began to take evasive action. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the officers turned on their emergency lights and siren to indicate to the driver of the vehicle that he needed to pull over.

The stalker accelerated his vehicle and drove through one stop sign and two stop lights while trying to elude the police officers. The officers placed him under arrest. During the pursuit, the officers noticed that the vehicle that they were chasing was pulling to the left. When it was stopped, they noticed fresh damage to the front left side of the vehicle. When they arrived at the police station to book the man, they were not aware that the two victims were already at the police station.

When the stalker was walked into the station, he was flanked by police officers and he had his head lowered. The new boyfriend of the woman, heard the man speaking and recognized his voice. He looked out toward the front desk and notified that officer that was with them that he was the man who had assaulted them. They were taken to another room where they filed their complaint against the stalker. It was only later that day when the suspect was taken to central booking that he was photographed and his picture was placed into the computer system so that a photographic lineup could be created.

The detective who was assigned to the case, conducted a photographic lineup with a color photo array later the same day. The victims picked the assailant out of the array with no problem. Several months later while preparing for trial, the Assistant District Attorney had the victims come to her office so that they could prepare their testimony. When the man arrived at the ADA’s office, he noticed that the photo array was on her desk. He immediately picked it up and identified him again. He also identified him from another photo lineup that was on her desk that was in black and white.

When the case came to trial, the offender filed a motion to suppress all of the evidence associated with the photograph of him and the photographic identifications. His contention was that the officers had violated the laws of New York when they booked him and took his photograph because they had only observed that he had committed traffic infractions. In New York, it is not customary to book a suspect of a traffic infraction into the jail. In fact, in New York, they are adamantly against treating any offender of a traffic infraction in any way like a misdemeanor or felony offender. Because New York has specific prohibitions against booking an offender of traffic offenses, the suspect claimed that they violated the laws of New York by booking and photographing him. He claimed that the only crimes that he had committed at the point of his arrest as far as the officers were aware involved violations of the traffic laws.

He maintained that he had failed to stop at a stop sign and he had failed to stop for two stop lights. The officers charged him with reckless conduct with a motor vehicle among other charges. The defendant objected to the charge of reckless conduct because he maintained that there were no other vehicles on the roadway when he ran the stop sign or the traffic lights. He contends that he could not have recklessly endangered the lives of people who were not present at the time of the incident.

The prosecution team disagreed. They contend that the laws of the state specifically refer to the interference with the legal use of the roadway and that is someone had turned onto the roadway during the pursuit, they could have been severely injured. The prosecution contends that the reckless conduct charge constituted a misdemeanor offense and that at the time of his booking, that was the offense that he was photographed for. The Supreme Court ruled that it was not improper for the officers to have physically arrested the subject, and that it was not improper for his picture to have been taken. It was therefore, not improper for his photograph to have been used in an array where he was identified as the stalker.

The defense then claimed that the identification had been tainted because the new boyfriend had seen him escorted into the police station flanked by officers and in handcuffs. He stated that he was then photographed wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing at the time of his arrest. He contends that these factors caused the new boyfriend to falsely identify him. The prosecution disagreed. They contend that the clothes that the offender was wearing did not play any part in the subsequent identification. In fact, they produced the evidence that months later, the witness had identified the defendant in a different line up that was not even in color. The Supreme Court agreed with the prosecution. All of the defendant’s motions were found to be without merit.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its felony lawyers there are convenient offices throughout New York State and Metropolitan area. Our New York attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations, whether you have been charged with stalking, drug possession or a weapons charge. Hiring a criminal Lawyers can prevent you from losing precious time with your family.

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