New York Defendant Loses Appeal in Drug Case; Court Cites Lack of Standing to Suppress Evidence in its Opinion

Recently, a defendant in New York appealed his convictions for possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. The defendant was charged several years ago, and at trial he was found guilty as charged in January 2017. On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court should have granted his motion to suppress incriminating evidence. Looking at the trial court’s record, however, the higher court decided to deny the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

The State of New York charged the defendant in this case when officers found illegal drugs in a jacket that he had recently discarded. By tracing the substances to the defendant, the investigators had enough information to formally charge him with criminal possession, and the defendant’s case later went to trial.

Before trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officers had no legal right to search the jacket where they found the drugs. The trial court denied this motion, and the jury therefore heard evidence of the drugs inside the clothing’s pocket. After receiving his guilty verdict and subsequent sentence, the defendant promptly filed an appeal.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant’s primary argument was that the officers did not have the right to search through the jacket where they found the illegal substances. Because of constitutional protections that protect people against unreasonable searches argued the defendant, he should have had the right to privacy in his own jacket pockets.

Examining the facts of the case, the higher court ultimately disagreed with the defendant. The jacket, said the court, was discarded, meaning it was no longer on the defendant’s person. Because the defendant had thrown the jacket out, and because it was not in his physical possession, the defendant did not have any grounds on which he could challenge the introduction of the incriminating evidence. In legal terms, then, the defendant lacked “standing” to pursue his motion to suppress. Typically, a defendant who abandons property no longer has a reasonable expectation of privacy in that object, even if they previously had such an expectation.

The court then denied the defendant’s appeal, affirming his original convictions. As a result, the defendant’s sentence will also remain intact.

Are You in Need of an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in the State of New York?

If you or a loved one are facing drug charges in New York, you don’t want to settle for any legal representation but the best. At Tilem & Associates, we treat every case with the individuality and dedication it deserves, and we refuse to stop working until you get the results you need. We understand the impact that a pending criminal case has on your life, and will do everything possible to minimize that impact, both today and in the future. For a free and confidential consultation with a defense attorney on our team, give us a call today at 877-377-8666. You can also fill out our online form to tell us more about your case and have someone reach back out to you as soon as possible.


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