Court Suppresses Gun Due to Officer’s Search Outside the Scope of Search Warrant

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a New York gun case, affirming the lower court’s decision to suppress a weapon found in the defendant’s vehicle that was parked outside his home. The case required the court to determine if the officers’ search of the defendant’s car fell outside the scope of the search warrant police officers obtained after allegedly observing him sell heroin from his home.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, police officers conducted a stake-out in front of the defendant’s home. During the course of their investigation, officers watched on several occasions as the defendant or one of his associates would leave the home and deliver an item to someone standing in the street in exchange for money. Police officers also arranged to make several controlled buys.

Detectives obtained a search warrant. The affidavit in support of the warrant requested the officers be allowed to search the defendant and “the entire premises.” Police officers executed the search warrant and found a gun inside the home. However, someone other than the defendant was charged with the gun found inside the home.

However, after officers searched the home, they moved on to search two cars parked in front of the residence. Inside one of the cars, officers found a loaded gun. Inside the other car, which was registered to the defendant’s cousin, the officers found bulk heroin and drug paraphernalia.

The defendant filed a motion to suppress the gun, arguing that the search warrant did not cover the cars that were parked out in front of the home. The trial court granted the motion, and the prosecution appealed.

On appeal, the court agreed with the lower court, affirming its decision to suppress the gun. The court explained that a search warrant must specifically list all areas the police intend to search. If police search a location that is not mentioned in the search warrant, there must be an alternate basis justifying the search.

Here, the court noted that there was no mention of any vehicles anywhere in the search warrant. The court also pointed out that there was no evidence suggesting that the defendant used the cars in any of his alleged dealings. Thus, the court determined that there was no probable cause to search the cars, and that anything found inside must be suppressed.

Have You Been Arrested for a New York Gun Crime?

If you were recently charged with a New York gun crime after police officers executed a questionable search of your person or property, the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel can help. As the above case illustrates, even if police officers had a warrant, the search may still be in violation of your rights, requiring the suppression of evidence. We represent clients facing all types of possessory offenses, including gun crimes and drug charges as well as all types of New York drunk driving charges. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney today, call (914) 428-7386.