The manager of a gas station was sitting in between the two gas pumps on the night of August 10, 1977. As he was sitting there, two men came to the station on foot asking him if he fixed tires at the gas station. The manager looked at the two men and something about them made him nervous. He talked with the men but he activated the transmitter in his pants pocket. The transmitter in his pocket set off a silent alarm in the sales office and the alarm dialed the number of the police station and played a pre-recorded message that the gas station was being robbed.
In the meantime, after the man activated the transmitter, his suspicions were confirmed for the two men announced that they were holding up the gas station. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said they threatened to blow up the manager’s head off, telling him that they had a gun. They emptied the manager’s pockets and took $35. They also took the transmitter. They asked him what it was for but the manager didn’t answer. Again the armed men threatened to blow the manager’s head off.
They took him inside the sales office and they emptied the cash register of all the money. Then they took off on foot toward Taft Avenue. About six minutes after the manager had triggered the transmitter alarm, a cop came driving up. He had heard from the radio dispatch that a robber was in progress at the gas station and he responded as he was near.
When the officer approached on his patrol vehicle, the manager ran toward him, wildly waving his arms and yelled for him to pursue the robbers as they went toward Taft Avenue. The officer did not even stop his vehicle but proceeded toward the direction indicated by the manager.
As the police officer gave chase, another police officer arrived at the gas station and asked for the details of the incident from the manager. He relayed on the radio that the robbers said that they had a gun. He also relayed over the radio the description of the robbers.
While the details of the incident were being ascertained by the second police officer, the first police officer came upon a vehicle on the road. He saw no other vehicles and he saw no other pedestrians on the street. He turned on his flashing lights and sounded his horn as he tailed the vehicle. A New York DWI Lawyer said the vehicle did not slow down and it did not pull over. The police officer then blared his sirens but still the car did not pull over immediately. The car stopped after crossing two intersections.
The police officer held his shotgun and approached the vehicle on the driver’s side. He saw two men in the vehicle. He pointed the shotgun at them and ordered them to put their hands on the dashboard where he can see them. He then radioed for the exact description of the robbers. When he heard it, he saw that the description matched the two men. He then radioed for assistance. He told the two men that they were under arrest for robbery at the gas station. He gave them the Miranda warnings and ordered them to stay in the car.
When the other patrol cars arrived, the other police officers removed the two men from the vehicle. They handcuffed them and frisked them. They were not found in possession of a gun. The police officers searched the vehicle and still they found that the robbers were not in possession of a gun.
Later that night, the two men were brought to the police station and they were made to stand in a lineup. The manager of the gas station identified the two men arrested by the police officer.
After being identified, the men confessed to the crime and gave a statement to the police. They were charged with robbery. The two men confessed to the crime but they appealed their conviction. They asked that the money found in their possession by suppressed as having been obtained by the police under a warrantless search and seizure. They also asked that their statements confessing to the crime be suppressed.
On appeal the two robbers claim that when the police officer stopped them on the road, he had no reason to suspect them of having committed any crime. They also contend that their detention at gunpoint was unlawful. All the proceedings after that was also unlawful and so they should be acquitted.
The only issue on appeal is whether or not the stop and the subsequent arrest were lawful.
The Court held that when the police officer came upon the men in their vehicle, he already had probable cause. A crime of robbery at gunpoint was reported. The victim of the robbery told the police officers the general direction of the robbers’ escape.
The Court also held that the police officer had every right to draw his shotgun at the two men because it was night, he was alone and he had been given the initial report that the robbers were armed with a gun. He had a reasonable right to protect himself.
He did not immediately arrest the robbers as he had no probable cause yet. He asked for their description first to see if they matched. When the identification matched, it was only then that the police officer had probable cause to effect the arrest. But he could not immediately handcuff or frisk the two men as he was all alone. He waited for back-up.
A New York DWI Lawyer said the stop and the arrest were lawful. The constitutional rights of the robbers are not a protection against all searches and seizures. Their constitutional right is to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. The police officer The police officer had a right to defend himself even as he responds to the call of his duty. His use of the shotgun was for his protection in case the robbers were indeed armed and dangerous.
The subsequent lineup was also lawful and the statement was made voluntarily. The convictions must be upheld.
Sometimes, it is not necessary to actually have a gun to commit a robbery. Were you wondering if the lack of an actual gun can be a defense in robbery? Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today, ask to speak to any of their NYC Gun Crime attorneys. Their New York City Gun Crime lawyers can help answer your questions. Their NY Gun Crime lawyers can represent you. Their New York Gun Crime attorneys can argue your case. Go to any of the offices of Stephen Bilkis today and begin your defense.