A man had parked his car illegally. A Police officer walked up to the car. He asked the man if he should be aware of anything in the car. The man consented to a search of the car. The police officer found a handgun in the car.
The issue presented to an Appellate Court in upstate New York was “[did the police officer have] reasonable suspicion to make the inquiry?” The Appeals court found there was none. The Court said the police must have “founded suspicion” of a crime before asking a motorist if he or she has a firearm. As a result, the Appeals Court threw out the search for the handgun. The handgun could not be used as evidence of the illegal possession of the weapon.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes a standard police must meet before intruding into the personal space of Americans. The Fourth Amendment specifically protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The court’s decision specifically stated while the police officer had an “objective credible reason” for approaching the illegally parked car he was not justified in making an inquiry about the contents of the vehicle without a “founded suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.”
About the Author
Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. and his associates provide criminal defense legal services for individuals being investigated and charged with crimes throughout the metropolitan New York area. Our law firm is available seven days a week to assist our clients. Call for a free consultation.