Decision of the Day: Suppression of Boa Constrictor Denied

Defendant moves for suppression of items recovered from his vehicle, claiming that they were the fruits of an unlawful seizure.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Police Officer Salvatore O’Hara, looking extremely credible in his attractive blue uniform with gold trimmings, testified that he approached defendant’s car in a crime-prone neighborhood with a gut feeling that defendant had committed, or was about to commit, a traffic infraction. The officer and his six partners assisted defendant to exit the vehicle and lie comfortably face-down on the pavement. Reasonably fearing for his safety, Officer O’Hara proceeded to open a covered basket on the back seat of the car and fainted dead away. Defendant was charged with endangering the sensibilities of a police officer and sentenced to an aggregate term of 422 years to life, to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

It is well-settled that the police inherently have a reasonable fear for their safety and need not await the glint of steel before hassling persons in crime-prone neighborhoods.

Defendant’s argument that Wall Street is not a crime prone area is unavailing. The Court is still trying to find that broker who sold it all those junk bonds.

Equally unpersuasive is defendant’s claim that the boa constrictor must be suppressed just because it disappeared prior to having its case called. There is no constitutional right to have one’s boa constrictor present.   As the People correctly note, once you’ve seen one boa constrictor, you’ve seen them all.

Defendant’s claim that Officer O’Hara was not qualified to identify a boa constrictor is frivolous, as is his claim that boa constrictors are only dangerous when provoked or hungry.  The question of whether it had already had breakfast goes to weight, not admissibility.

The Court rejects defendant’s whining that it was unlawful for the police to search a closed container in his car. It is irrelevant that it may have been closed at some prior time. Once the police open it, it is no longer a closed container.

The sergeant’s question, “How do you explain this unlawful boa constrictor in your car?” was not designed to elicit an incriminating statement, but merely to clarify the situation. Accordingly, defendant’s spontaneous statement, “You pig, I hope Gertrude eats you!” will not be suppressed.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of Nutcracker, J.

Boa constrictor

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
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