Tag: illegal search

Criminal Hearings to Determine if a Search is Reasonable

On September 15, 2016, in Criminal, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Criminal Hearings to Determine if a Search is Reasonable

The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” In recent times these principles have had real life consequences on New Yorkers with regard to issues such as the controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy of the NYPD, and arbitrary traffic stops that sometimes result in arrests for driving while intoxicated or drug offenses. There are three main types of criminal hearings in the New York Courts that are held to determine the reasonableness of police search and seizures that relate to these fourth amendment principles. These criminal hearings respectively are; Mapp, Huntley, and Dunaway hearings.

A Mapp Hearing deals with the admissibility of physical evidence obtained by the police as a result of an illegal search.

Huntley Hearings are held to determine if a defendant’s statements to police were made voluntarily and not coerced. If they are found to have been coerced then under the Huntley rule they will not be admissible as evidence.

A Dunaway hearing is held to determine whether evidence was obtained by police as the result of an arrest made where police lacked probable cause to make the arrest in the first place. If it is determined that police lacked probable cause to initiate an arrest any subsequent statements or evidence obtained by police as the result of the arrest will be held inadmissible in court.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Retaining an attorney that understands the nuances of these hearings and how to challenge the accuracy and veracity of evidence in court can and will make all the difference in your case. When you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, you need someone fighting on your side. Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Police Find Gun in Purse

On March 13, 2014, in Criminal, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Legal Search or Illegal Search

Was the warrantless search legal?


Just before noon on May 23, 2008, police responded to a radio run reporting a burglary in progress at 2255 Barker Avenue in the Bronx, an apartment building participating in Operation Clean Halls, a program through which police officers are authorized entry into privately owned buildings to conduct patrols. The radio run included descriptions of the suspects provided by the 911 caller, who had reported that two Latino males, between 5′9″ and 5′11″, were attempting to burglarize a fifth-floor apartment. Sergeant Manzari and his partner, Officer Aldas, were the first to arrive on the scene. They began by checking the rear exterior of the building, which was boarded up due to ongoing construction, leaving no rear access. Manzari and Aldas then circled back to the front entrance, where they were soon joined by between four and six additional officers. Manzari sent a pair of officers upstairs to conduct a vertical sweep and to locate and interview the 911 caller.

Upon entering the building, Manzari and Aldas observed defendant coming into the lobby from what appeared to be a stairwell. She was in the company of a Latino male, Alberto Sanchez. Another woman, who was later identified as the building superintendent, pointed at defendant and Sanchez and “made a face” in a manner Manzari interpreted as a request for the police to stop them, though she gave no intimation of weaponry. Manzari also directed an officer to move the superintendent aside “for safety reasons.” At Manzari’s direction, Officer Aldas then questioned defendant “to find out what she was doing in the building, if she was trespassing in the building.” Her answers were contradictory and equivocal: while she initially stated that she was there to visit a friend, she then claimed she was in search of a notary, but could provide neither names nor apartment numbers associated therewith. There were “No Trespassing” signs posted in the lobby.

At this point, Sergeant Manzari instructed two of the officers present to arrest defendant and Sanchez for trespassing. Officer Pagan approached defendant while another officer prepared to arrest Sanchez. Pagan proceeded to remove from defendant’s shoulder a large purse, which—from Officer Barnes’ standpoint—appeared to be heavy. Pagan then opened the bag and saw a handgun inside. After Pagan informed Manzari that the bag contained a gun and that it appeared to be loaded, the Sergeant instructed her to secure the weapon. Thereafter, Pagan handcuffed defendant and transported her to the precinct for processing.


The trial court denied defendant’s motion to suppress the gun and the Defendant was convicted after a jury trial.

The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision.

The Court of Appeals reversed. Holding that no exigency justified the warrantless search of the large purse found in defendant’s possession.

The PEOPLE, Respondent, v. Josefina JIMENEZ, Appellant.

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If you have been the victim of an illegal search, call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 today.

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