In a recent New York case involving the illegal possession of a firearm, the court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress physical evidence. In the appeal, the defendant argued that the initial police pursuit of the defendant that led to the recovery of the evidence in question was not legal, therefore barring the use of the gun at trial. The appeals court denied his motion, finding first that the police pursuit was lawful, and as a result, the motion to suppress was denied.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the police officer was engaged in his normal duties when he was patrolling near the Woodside Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex, in Woodside, Queens. The officer then observed a group of three or four individuals gathered together on a bench and recognized one of them, the defendant, as the subject of two bench warrants that he had received and reviewed prior to March 16. Both bench warrants were in connection with two pending criminal proceedings. Each contained a photograph of the defendant and identifying physical characteristics, including height, weight, age, and race. As the officer and the defendant made eye contact, the defendant began running towards a nearby building.
The officer then observed the defendant make a motion towards the elevator before disappearing into the stairwell. Despite sweeping the building, the police officers were unable to locate the defendant. The officers then referred to video surveillance footage of the building and discovered that the defendant had disposed of a handgun in the elevator before running into the stairwell. An inspection of the elevator revealed a handgun in the shaft. Several days later, the defendant turned himself in.