In a recent opinion from a New York court involving a New York drug possession charge, the defendant’s appeal was denied. The defendant made two arguments in hopes of fighting the original guilty verdict: 1) that the confidential informant who provided incriminating information against him was unreliable, and 2) that the statements the defendant made to police officers at the time of his arrest were inadmissible. The court disagreed with both of these arguments, finding the defendant guilty and sentencing him to time in prison as a result of the verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant had been found guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree after police officers found crack cocaine just outside of his residence. Officers had permission to search inside and around the residence because they had received a warrant from the court; this warrant was granted because a confidential informant had provided the court with information suggesting that the defendant possessed cocaine in violation of New York law.
The defendant appealed his guilty verdict, arguing that the informant providing the incriminating information was not shown to be “reliable or trustworthy”, and thus that the officers’ warrant was invalid. The court disagreed. The court that issued the warrant did get the opportunity to learn the informant’s identity, and the court communicated to the informant that he was sharing information under penalty of perjury. Given these facts, it was reasonable for the court to believe the informant when he provided incriminating information, and the warrant that the court issued was valid as a result.