Decision of the Day: Boa Constrictor Not Rosario

Defendant moves for suppression of contraband and statements, claiming that they were the fruit of an unlawful seizure. For the reasons set forth below, suppression is denied as to everything except the boa constrictor.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Officer Efrain Nutcracker, a 2-week veteran of the police force, looking rather splendid in his blue uniform, testified candidly and credibly 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. After a probing and tactful inquiry, Officer Nutcracker and his six partners requested defendant to exit his vehicle. Reasonably fearing for his safety, Officer Nutcracker proceeded to open a large container 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 is unavailing that Wall Street is not a crime prone neighborhood. To the contrary, the Court sees no reason why the term should be limited to the situ of violent crime.

Equally unpersuasive is defendant’s claim that ordering him to lie face down on the pavement while six officers sat on top of him exceeded the permissible scope of a level one inquiry. Viewed in context and under the totality of the circumstances, the police intrusion was minimal and reasonable. In any event, defendant’s statement, “You @#$%^&*!” was spontaneous and not offered for its truth.

Although the boa constrictor was vouchered and entered into evidence at the Huntley/Dunaway hearing, it appears to be missing, rendering moot the question of its admissibility. We decline to give an adverse inference charge inasmuch as it does not constitute Rosario material and the evidence of defendant’s guilt is plainly overwhelming as evidenced by the fact of his arrest.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of Treadmill, J.

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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