In the beginning of May 2013, Christian Munez was arrested for possession of marijuana. He was brought to the 44th precinct in the Bronx. He was questioned by Sergeant Christopher Pascale. Sergeant Pascale did not read Mr. Munez his Miranda Rights. Mr. Pascale questioned Mr. Munez about other crimes in that area of the Bronx. He alluded to the fact Munez was lying and stated “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a gun.” Sergeant Pascale noted Munez’s evasive reaction to the discussion of there being a gun in his home. This caused Sergeant Pascale to question another man who had been arrested at the same time with Mr. Munez. This other defendant acknowledged that there was probably a gun in Munez’s home.
Search of Munez’s Home
Police officers went to Munez’s apartment. While the officers were at Munez’s apartment, Sergeant Pascale went back to the precinct. He told Munez that if they found a gun in his apartment, everyone in the apartment would be arrested and jailed. The officer advised him, in the event he refused to consent they would get in touch with his parole officer. The parole officer could search the apartment without a warrant and cause everyone in the apartment to be incarcerated.
Judge Suppresses the Seized Gun
District Court Judge Louis Kaplan suppressed the gun seized from Munez’s home. His decision stated the police representations about getting the search warrant to Christian Munez, and everyone would be arrested invalidated Munez’s consent for the search. Judge Kaplan stated the involuntary consent and a similar consent to a search obtained from Munez’s father required that the gun police found be kept out of evidence. Judge Kaplan further stated in his decision “where police have an honest basis for their statement, it is not coercive to make it.” “But false threats made in order to obtain consent deprived the suspect of a free and informed choice based on the realities before him.” The judge also held the representations to Mr. Munez that his family members would be arrested if he did not consent to the search was also coercive.