A detective led a police team that was investigating the deaths of a two man. The bodies of the two victims were discovered in the bathroom of the other man’s apartment. Both men had been bound with duct tape and shot through the head. When the detective and his colleague went to the apartment, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana and observed marijuana residue (marijuana possession). The police later discovered that the other man had been a low-level drug dealer.
A witness, who claimed to have been a close friend of the other victim undergone interview with the detective, during their discussions, the witness stated that he knew the victim and they had been friends for fifteen years. The witness also stated that the victim had been a marijuana dealer with regular clientele. He also revealed that he had been present in the victim’s apartment when the victim sold between a half-pound and a pound of marijuana to another man. The witness also asserts that the victim had also been well acquainted with his client, whom he sold the pound of marijuana. The witness further states that the victim told him about a shipment of 30 to 50 pounds of marijuana and had some out-of-town buyers for it. The victim was nervous about so large a shipment and his client was present when the victim mentioned the prospective sale to the witness.
The police utilized the information from the witness to obtain a photograph of the victim’s client. They put the photograph into a computer-generated photo array which they showed the witness. The witness identified the person pictured in the photograph as the client who purchased the marijuana from the victim. The police also obtained a number of addresses of locations that were linked to the client. Another detective informed the head detective that the victim’s client had a reputation for robbing drug dealers. At about 7:00 pm that same day, the detectives visited one of the apartments in the hope of finding the victim’s client.
The three detectives ascended the stairway leading up to the apartment, which was located on the third or fourth floor. By the time they reached the five-by-five-foot landing immediately outside of apartment the detectives, all of whom had previously served in narcotics units, smelled the odor of marijuana. The head detective stood in front of the door of the apartment, his gun in his hand behind his back. The detectives were somewhat apprehensive because they were investigating a double homicide and they had no idea how many people might be in the apartment or if they had weapons. The detective banged forcefully on the apartment door and yelled police. Within 20 seconds the victim’s client opened the door and stood in the doorway. The odor of marijuana was strong but it was impossible to see into the pitch-black apartment behind him. The detectives, who were already concerned for their safety, became even more cautious.
Although the detective recognized already the client from the photo array, the detective still asked him his name to verify his identity. He then ordered him out into the hall. The client complied and as he came out the detective passed him to his co-detectives who patted him down.
The detective began to yell into the apartment and a few seconds’ later three males and female exited. None of them appeared to be under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or any other substance. The detectives frisked the males as they exited and placed them against the wall, both as a safety measure and because the detective believed that they had been engaged in illegal activity. Several officers were asked to safeguard the apartment until it could be thoroughly searched.
The victim’s client agreed to talk to the detectives about the incident, but insisted that they not write down anything he said or make reference to the drug possession crime. The detectives agreed. He then stated that he had known the victim and admitted that he had purchased a pound of marijuana from him. He was aware that the victim was expecting a 30-to-50 pound shipment of marijuana and had intended to hold on to it. He had gone back to the victim’s apartment with another person and a male black to pick it up. The marijuana had not yet arrived and he was too nervous to wait there for it. The victim called him later that day but when he returned to the apartment the shipment had still not arrived. He left and returned to the building once more and that time he saw police and decided to walk away.
Shortly after finishing his narrative, the victim’s client indicated that he wanted to write something. The detectives gave him a pen and pad and left the room.
The arrested female had indeed begun to implicate the victim’s client. The detective brought the female to the station house and handcuffed her to a chair in the lunchroom. Another detective came into the room to check up on her ten minutes later. He asked her about her parents and she told them that she was staying with her grandmother.
When the detective came back into the room with her partner she removed the arrested female’s handcuffs and administered Miranda warnings. The arrested female agreed to speak. The detective then asked her what she was doing in the apartment and how she knew the people who had been there with her. She told her that the police were investigating a double homicide and emphasized the seriousness of the matter. The female told the detectives that one of the others in the apartment was her boyfriend. She had been hanging out there that evening. Ten or fifteen minutes after, the detectives began to stress the importance of telling them the truth. The arrested female told them that she was going to speak truthfully.
At about 9:00 a.m., the detective informed the victim’s client that the arrested female had begun to incriminate him, the client knocked on the door of the room in which he was being held and asked to speak with the head detective. Two detectives went into the room and listened while the victim’s client gave a narrative which the detectives rarely interrupted. After he finished, the detective began to write down the statement, asking him questions from time to time. In the statement the client gave an account in which he admitted that he and the arrested female had been present in the victim’s apartment during the shootings, but which minimized their responsibility. According to the client, the primary actor in the robbery and murders was his friend, who had ordered them about and was the actual shooter. The detectives read the statement back and asked him to sign it, but he refused. When they returned about noon and asked him if he wished to make a videotaped statement he asked to speak to an attorney.
The victim’s client moves to suppress statements that he gave to the police, physical evidence recovered from his apartment, as well as identification testimony of a witness who identified him from a photo array. The arrested female also moves to suppress statements.
The court finds that the applications to suppress physical evidence, statements and identification testimony are denied, except as indicated. The application of the arrested female to suppress statements that she gave to the police is granted.
Our society became more unsafe because of the people who keep doing drugs as business. If you became a victim of a crime that involves drug related offense, the New York City Drug Attorneys can be your best option for legal representation. However, you can also have the assistance of the NY Criminal Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates for any criminal offense that you did.