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Judgement is upheld


This is an appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County, rendered June 6, 1992, convicting him of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (four counts) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. The appeal brings up for review the denial, after a hearing, of those branches of his omnibus motion which were to suppress physical evidence and statements made by him to the police.

A Kings Drug Possession Lawyer said that, the defendant’s conviction results from his sales of vials of crack-cocaine to several individuals during approximately a one-hour period, as well as the recovery from him of eight vials of crack-cocaine possession at the time of his arrest. The defendant’s actions were observed by an experienced narcotics police officer, using binoculars, who was stationed on the roof of a seven-story building approximately one block away. The defendant’s conviction for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree arose out of an undercover narcotics operation conducted by the police on November 19, 1985. An undercover officer purchased a tinfoil packet of cocaine through a slot in a steel door located on the third floor of a semi-abandoned apartment building in Brooklyn. A few minutes later a backup team arrived and battered down the door. Upon entering the apartment, the police found the defendant standing between the kitchen and living room within two feet of a rifle and weapon which were lying on the floor. The police also found several tinfoil packets containing cocaine, paraphernalia relating to drug selling, and a pile of loose cocaine, all of which were in plain view.

A Lawyer said that, the back-up team arrested the defendant, as well as four of the five individuals who had been observed buying drugs from him. While processing the arrest paperwork at the police precinct, the officers discussed the order in which the buyers had approached the defendant. The defendant, who was in a holding cell approximately three feet away with the four buyers who had been apprehended, interjected: “I did not sell to those, those guys. I sold to him and him”, indicates two of the four individuals who had been arrested with arraignment coming.

A Kings Criminal Lawyer said that, on appeal the defendant contends that there was no probable cause for his arrest and, therefore, that the eight vials recovered from him should have been suppressed. The defendant further argues that the spontaneous statement he made without the benefit of Miranda warnings should also have been suppressed, since the police officers knew or should have known that their discussions were reasonably likely to elicit a response from him.

The issue in this case is whether defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained against him on the ground that there was no probable cause for his arrest.

The court disagrees. The testimony of an experienced narcotics police officer concerning his observation of the multiple exchanges of objects and of a red heat-sealed plastic bag for currency, which he reasonably believed to be drug transactions, was sufficient to provide probable cause for the defendant’s arrest. Consequently, the search of the defendant, which resulted in the recovery from him of eight vials of crack cocaine, was incident to a lawful arrest.

The evidence also shows that the defendant’s statement while in the detention cell was not the product of interrogation or its functional equivalent. The police officers’ discussions were not of a nature such that they should have known they were reasonably likely to elicit a response from the defendant. Consequently, the defendant’s statements were made with genuine spontaneity, without apparent external cause.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court finds that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, upon the exercise of our factual review power, we are satisfied that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.

The defendant’s remaining contentions, including those raised in his supplemental pro se brief, are either unpreserved for appellate review or any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt in light of the overwhelming evidence of the defendant’s guilt.

Finally, we perceive no basis on which to disturb the sentence imposed. Accordingly, the court held that the judgment is affirmed.

If you think that there is no probable cause at the time of your arrest, seek the assistance of a Kings Criminal Attorney and Kings Cocaine Possession Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates in order to file the proper pleading to defend your case.

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