This case is being heard in the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court located in Queens County. The plaintiffs in the case are the People of the State of New York. The defendants in the case are Kevin Jackson and William Mercado.
Each of the defendants in the case has moved to have tangible evidence suppressed. In addition, the defendant William Mercado has moved to suppress his statements. Police Officer William Gray from the Port Authority Police Department testified in the pretrial hearing for the defendants as the sole witness.
On the fourth of March in 1981, Officer William Gray was working as a screening officer in the Pan American building located at the Kennedy Airport. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said he was approached by a man dressed in business attire and holding a briefcase. The man informed Officer Gray that there were two men occupying a single bathroom stall.
Officer Gray went into the bathroom where only one stall had a door that was closed. He approached the door and heard two men’s voices. He looked in the space between the door and the frame and saw defendant Mercado sitting on the flushing unit of the toilet, with his feet on the bowl. He then went to the next stall over and stood on the toilet to see into the stall where the two defendants were. He saw Mercado sitting and the defendant Jackson standing with his back to the door of the stall. Jackson was holding an envelope that contained a white powder. When Jackson saw Officer Gray he threw the envelope into the toilet and Mercado flushed it. Officer Gray ordered the men out of the stall. He placed the defendants under arrest.
Officer Gray had the defendants place their hands on the wall and patted them down. He took a straw from defendant Jackson. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the straw had a white residue on the end of it and nasal mucous on the other end. He had Mercado empty his pockets and removed a straw with white residue as well as 19 glassine envelopes each containing a white powder. Officer Grey believed that the white substance was heroin.
Court Discussion and Decision
The question before the court is whether or not the evidence obtained in this case was in violation of the defendant’s fourth amendment rights. After reviewing similar cases involving acts conducted in a public restroom, the court finds that Officer Grey was acting in regard to a complaint made by an individual. For this reason, the motion for the evidence to be suppressed is denied.
In regard to suppressing statements made by defendant Mercado, the first statement that was made in the car on the way to the police station will be suppressed. This statement was that the bags were only cocaine. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer the reason for this is because is although he was read his Miranda rights, the officer left out the part where the defendant has the right to speak without an attorney.
The other statement that was overheard by the officer while Mercado was making a phone call will not be suppressed. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said it is felt that in a situation where a person is making a phone call and knows that the police are present, the information stated in the phone call is considered voluntary.
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