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New York Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal in Firearm Case, Despite Argument that Warrant Was Unauthorized

In a recent opinion issued by an appellate court in New York, the defendant’s appeal of his sale of firearm conviction was denied. Originally, the defendant was charged with sale of a firearm in the first degree and criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree. A jury found him guilty of both crimes, and he promptly appealed, arguing that the officers’ search warrant was unauthorized and thus that the evidence they found should have been suppressed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was riding a bus from Florida to New York when police officers entered the bus without prior notice. The officers approached the defendant and immediately showed him a search warrant that authorized them to search the suitcase he had brought on board. Feeling as if he had no choice in the matter, the defendant handed over the suitcase.

The officers found multiple firearms in the suitcase, and the defendant was charged accordingly. He appeared for his trial, and in June 2017, and received a guilty verdict. The defendant appealed his verdict pro se, meaning he did not have an attorney to represent him but instead filed the appeal on his own.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant challenged the officers’ authorization to search the suitcase in question. In order for an officer’s application for a search warrant to be valid, the request must include details regarding the place or things to be searched. It also must establish probable cause, meaning the officer must have sufficient reason to believe he or she will find evidence of criminal activity as a result of the search.

Here, the defendant argued that the officers requesting the warrant had not met this probable cause standard. His main argument was that there was not enough reason for an officer or judge to suspect that criminal activity was afoot. The application should have been denied, and thus the incriminating evidence that officers found while executing the warrant should have been suppressed at trial.

The court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately disagreed. Without being able to reveal specifically what the officer’s application for a search warrant stated, the court concluded that the warrant did, in fact, establish the necessary probable cause. Even though the court did not state publicly exactly what information the application included, it did say that the “search warrant affidavit provided sufficient information to support a reasonable belief that firearms would be found in the suitcase.”

The defendant’s appeal was subsequently denied.

Are You Facing Firearm Charges in the State of New York?

If you are fighting charges related to a firearm in New York, the situation you face couldn’t be more serious. However, with Tilem & Associates in your corner, you will have an ally looking out for your best interests every step of the way. Peter H. Tilem, Esq, the senior lawyer in the firm is a former prosecutor in the firearms trafficking unit.  We take the time to understand which arguments courts tend to accept and which arguments they reject so that we can stay up to date on current law and provide you with the most cutting-edge representation possible. For your free and confidential consultation, call us today at 877-377-8666.

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