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New York Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal in Drug Case

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 Decision

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.

The defendant also took issue with some of the statements used against him in court. At the time of his arrest, the defendant had made several incriminating statements to the police officers; later, he said these statements were not voluntarily given to the police officers and therefore should not have been used to make a case against him. The court disagreed. Upon reviewing the facts of the case, the court determined that the officer had given the defendant proper Miranda warnings before asking him for his version of events. Not only did the officer tell the defendant that he had the right to remain silent and to retain an attorney, but the defendant also acknowledged that he understood these rights and decided to begin answering questions anyway. Thus, according to the court, the defendant’s statements to the police were not taken in violation of his rights and it was acceptable for the statements to be used against him to support a guilty verdict.

Have You Been Charged with Drug Possession in New York?

If you have been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in New York, it is in your best interest to speak with a defense attorney who can walk you through your possible defenses. At Tilem & Associates, we have been representing the rights of individuals facing a wide array of legal matters for over 25 years. We are eager to offer you the most effective, aggressive, and persuasive representation possible because we believe that your voice deserves to be heard. For a free consultation, give us a call at 877-377-8666.

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