Published on:

Court Discusses Probable Cause for Blood Sample

In August 1991, two police officers from Yonkers, New York were sent to investigate a reported rape and robbery which occurred in an apartment building. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the woman who claimed to have been raped told the detectives that she was raped at knifepoint. She gave the description of her attacker to the police including the attacker’s physical traits such as his height, approximate age, his body build, the clothes he wore, his race and even the way he smelled.

The detectives went to the basement of the building where the garbage chute emptied out into a dumpster and found clothes similar to the clothes described as worn by the attacker of the woman. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said near the dumpster there were also found some surgical gloves, a white panty hose tied in knots and a knife.

The police detectives asked the residents of the building if they knew any person in the building who fit the description given by the woman who was raped and they were led to the apartment of the accused.

The police officers knocked on the apartment door and found there the accused, his ten year old sister and an aunt who was visiting. The accused’s father was not at home. The police were met at the door by the sister of the accused and they came in without being invited in. They asked permission from the aunt to look around and she agreed. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said they found mothballs in the clothes drawer of the accused and took that. They asked the aunt to dial the accused’s father’s number at work. The police talked with the father and asked his permission to bring his son to their station for an interview. The father agreed and said that he would meet them there.

The accused who was then wearing a robe asked if he could dress up. The police saw him as he took off his robe and noted that he had lacerations on his back which looked fresh. The accused said they were caused when he fell off a wall.

The police obtained items of clothing from the woman’s apartment that had semen stains and they brought this for analysis in the crime lab. The District Attorney’s office then asked the trial court for an Order to compel the accused to give them a blood sample so that they can match the semen stains with the DNA in the blood sample. The District Attorney showed the judge that she had probable cause to ask for the blood sample because of all the details so far unearthed by the police officers during their brief investigation at the apartment building. The trial court granted the motion and issued the order. The blood samples were taken from the accused in December 1992.

The samples were brought to the lab and were used to compare the DNA of the semen stains left on the woman’s clothes consequent to the rape which occurred in August 1991. The semen stains did not contain sufficient material for DNA analysis. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer said the lab then compared the DNA from the blood sample to the DNA from semen stains from another rape in the same apartment building but committed in May of 1991 which they were also investigating. The lab was surprised that the DNA matched to the May 1991 rape.

The District Attorney then filed an indictment for rape against the accused for the May 1991 rape. The August 1991 rape is still under investigation and no charges have yet been brought against the accused for that rape.

The accused objects to being compelled to give samples of his blood. He also objected to his blood sample being compared to the semen stains from another rape in May 1991 when he was being investigated for a different rape charge which occurred in August 1991. He asks that the evidence from the DNA analysis be suppressed.

The only question before the Court is whether or not the DNA evidence obtained by compelling him to give a blood sample and by comparing his blood sample with the semen stains from the May 1991 rape must be suppressed.

The Court held that any suspect or accused may be compelled to provide a blood sample by court order as long as the district attorney who applied for the order can show that there is probable cause to believe that the suspect committed the crime and that there is a clear indication that relevant and material evidence may be found; and that the means by which the blood sample shall be taken is safe and reliable.

The Court also held that when the blood sample was obtained by court order after probable cause was established, the blood sample may be used in any or all investigations being conducted by the police. There is no requirement for the police or the district attorney to prove probable cause anew each time that they will use the blood sample.

Are you suspected of having committed rape? Are you being compelled to give a DNA or blood sample? A New York Rape attorney can help you oppose the motion of the District Attorney by proving that no probable cause exists which can tie you to the rape charged against you. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their NY Rape attorneys are willing and able to represent you. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today.