Search & Seizure page 2

We all know that the question of admissibility of evidence is often one of the key aspects to the defense in a criminal prosecution. The case of United States v. Sullivan, (S.D. Illinois , #02-CR-40030-1) is a most recent example of how the team approach of National Legal Professional Associatesworking with counsel has successfully stopped the government in its attempts to use illegally obtained evidence against a defendant. In this case, NLPA assisted Benton, Illinois attorney Paula Newcomb, in researching and supporting a motion to suppress physical evidence discovered and seized in a warrantless search of a hotel room.

In United States v. Sullivan, the Defendant was indicted on one count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The general facts involved were that the Defendant and others had stayed at a local hotel. While the individuals were absent from the room, law enforcement officers arrived. The officers conducted an initial search of the room to determine if there were any safety issues to be addressed. Soon thereafter, they conducted a full search of the hotel room, obtained fingerprints from throughout the room including those on a receptacle containing a small amount of methamphetamine, and identified one fingerprint as belonging to the Defendant. From the evidence obtained, an indictment and subsequent arrest warrant were issued for the Defendant.

One of the key matters during the pretrial proceedings was whether the warrantless entry and search of the hotel room was proper in light of the Fourth Amendment and its case law progeny. The Defendant’s counsel, with arguments and research prepared by NLPA, argued to the Court that a warrantless entry and search of a hotel room can only be legal if it is based upon exigent circumstances. As noted to the Court, before agents of the government may invade the sanctity of the home, the burden is on the government to demonstrate exigent circumstances that overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that attaches to all warrantless home entries. The Fourth Amendment prohibits governmental intrusions into dwellings without a warrant supported by probable cause, subject to only a few carefully delineated exceptions.

The underlying theme to this important protection was once explained by Justice Jackson in McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451 (1948):

“Whether there is reasonable necessity for a search without waiting to obtain a warrant certainly depends upon the gravity of the offense thought to be in progress as well as the hazards of the method of attempting to reach it . . . It is to me a shocking proposition that private homes, even quarters in a tenement, may be indiscriminately invaded at the discretion of any suspicious police officer engaged in following up offenses that involve no violence or threats of it.”

Id. at 459-460.

Without an emergency situation demanding urgent police action, there is no excuse for the failure to procure a search warrant. In this case, there were no exigent circumstances to justify the entry. Hotel cleaning persons entered the room so that it could be cleaned. Upon entry, they claim to have noticed a foul odor in the air, and several items out of place. After finding these items, they locked the room and reported their findings to hotel management. Shortly thereafter, the officers arrived. No one could enter or exit the hotel room without the knowledge of the police.

Put simply, the hotel room was secure. There was ample time for the police to obtain a warrant to enter the dwelling if the police believed they had the necessary probable cause to do so. Thus, the warrantless entry was not justified and all evidence obtained subsequent to the entry should have been suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Exigent circumstances means that there is no time to obtain a warrant. In this case, the officers essentially ignored the constitutional protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and for that reason, the evidence obtained from the illegal search, it was argued to the Court, should be suppressed.

With NLPA’s assistance, research, and support, counsel made this argument to the Court. After obtaining substantial written memoranda, the trial court ultimately granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress with regard to physical evidence discovered and seized during searches conducted after the initial brief search of the hotel room. The research prepared by NLPA for Ms. Newcomb assisted the Court in holding that the Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated and that evidence should be suppressed.

Should you or your client find yourself in a similar situation, NLPA and its experienced research team stands ready to assist you with the most up-to-date research in the preparation of pleadings to protect your client’s rights. We look forward to another victory!

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Search & Seizure

Search & Seizure

US v. Sullivan – Successfully suppressing pretrial evidence obtained illegally without a warrant – another NLPA victory!

We all know that the question of admissibility of evidence is often one of the key aspects to the defense in a criminal prosecution. The case of United States v. Sullivan, (S.D. Illinois , #02-CR-40030-1) is a most recent example of how the team approach of National Legal Professional Associatesworking with counsel has successfully stopped the government in its attempts to use illegally obtained evidence against a defendant. In this case, NLPA assisted Benton, Illinois attorney Paula Newcomb, in researching and supporting a motion to suppress physical evidence discovered and seized in a warrantless search of a hotel room.

In United States v. Sullivan, the Defendant was indicted on one count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The general facts involved were that the Defendant and others had stayed at a local hotel. While the individuals were absent from the room, law enforcement officers arrived. The officers conducted an initial search of the room to determine if there were any safety issues to be addressed. Soon thereafter, they conducted a full search of the hotel room, obtained fingerprints from throughout the room including those on a receptacle containing a small amount of methamphetamine, and identified one fingerprint as belonging to the Defendant. From the evidence obtained, an indictment and subsequent arrest warrant were issued for the Defendant.

One of the key matters during the pretrial proceedings was whether the warrantless entry and search of the hotel room was proper in light of the Fourth Amendment and its case law progeny. The Defendant’s counsel, with arguments and research prepared by NLPA, argued to the Court that a warrantless entry and search of a hotel room can only be legal if it is based upon exigent circumstances. As noted to the Court, before agents of the government may invade the sanctity of the home, the burden is on the government to demonstrate exigent circumstances that overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that attaches to all warrantless home entries. The Fourth Amendment prohibits governmental intrusions into dwellings without a warrant supported by probable cause, subject to only a few carefully delineated exceptions.

The underlying theme to this important protection was once explained by Justice Jackson in McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451 (1948):

“Whether there is reasonable necessity for a search without waiting to obtain a warrant certainly depends upon the gravity of the offense thought to be in progress as well as the hazards of the method of attempting to reach it . . . It is to me a shocking proposition that private homes, even quarters in a tenement, may be indiscriminately invaded at the discretion of any suspicious police officer engaged in following up offenses that involve no violence or threats of it.”

Id. at 459-460.

Without an emergency situation demanding urgent police action, there is no excuse for the failure to procure a search warrant. In this case, there were no exigent circumstances to justify the entry. Hotel cleaning persons entered the room so that it could be cleaned. Upon entry, they claim to have noticed a foul odor in the air, and several items out of place. After finding these items, they locked the room and reported their findings to hotel management. Shortly thereafter, the officers arrived. No one could enter or exit the hotel room without the knowledge of the police.

Put simply, the hotel room was secure. There was ample time for the police to obtain a warrant to enter the dwelling if the police believed they had the necessary probable cause to do so. Thus, the warrantless entry was not justified and all evidence obtained subsequent to the entry should have been suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Exigent circumstances means that there is no time to obtain a warrant. In this case, the officers essentially ignored the constitutional protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and for that reason, the evidence obtained from the illegal search, it was argued to the Court, should be suppressed.

With NLPA’s assistance, research, and support, counsel made this argument to the Court. After obtaining substantial written memoranda, the trial court ultimately granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress with regard to physical evidence discovered and seized during searches conducted after the initial brief search of the hotel room. The research prepared by NLPA for Ms. Newcomb assisted the Court in holding that the Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated and that evidence should be suppressed.

Should you or your client find yourself in a similar situation, NLPA and its experienced research team stands ready to assist you with the most up-to-date research in the preparation of pleadings to protect your client’s rights. We look forward to another victory!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although National Legal Professional Associates (NLPA) is owned by The Criminal Defense Firm, LLC (a law firm), National Legal Professional Associates is NOT a law firm and does not provide legal advice. Accordingly, the retention of National Legal Professional Associates does not create a client-lawyer relationship. National Legal Professional Associates’ research and writing services are provided under the direction and control of the defendant’s own legal counsel.

Posted in Search & Seizure

US v. Evans – Suppressing intercepted phone conversations when obtained illegally

Oftentimes, criminal defendants request assistance from NLPA regarding pre-trial issues. One of the most prevalent pre-trial issues that NLPA deals with is motions to suppress evidence. While most such motions involve an illegal stop of a vehicle or a faulty search warrant, NLPA is also involved in cutting edge research regarding the propriety of wiretaps. Such was the case regarding the prosecution of Marshall Evans in United States v. Reginald Chantez Rice, et al., No. 3:04CR-83-R (D. Ky. October 13, 2005). This case demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of pre-trial suppression arguments in an effort to ensure that criminal defendant’s are tried only upon evidence that has been properly and constitutionally obtained and is admissible at trial.

In Mr. Evans’ case, the government obtained a court order allowing for the use of a wiretap on May 26, 2004. A subsequent order was granted for the use of a wiretap on June 23, 2004. A third order was granted for use of a wiretap on July 21, 2004. Mr. Evans sought suppression of the evidence obtained from said wiretaps, as it was argued that: (1) the United States failed to minimize the intercepted communications as required by statute; (2) the affidavit supporting the June wiretap application lacked probable cause; (3) the extension of the June wiretap order was invalid because the June wiretap order was improvidently granted; (4) the United States failed to meet the requirement of attempting to employ normal investigative techniques; and (5) the recorded conversations were not sealed within the required time period.

The district court granted the suppression because the government failed to show that other investigative procedures had been tried and proven to be unsuccessful prior to requesting a wiretap. See 18 U.S.C. § 2518(1)(c). The government had previously heard suspects in this case conversing on cellular telephones. As such, the wiretap application mentioned that wiretapping said means of communication would be the easiest way to obtain the needed evidence. However, the government failed to list whether other investigatory means had been used. As such, the June wiretap order was invalid. As the June wiretap order was invalid, a subsequent July wiretap order was also ruled invalid, as it flowed from the initial wiretap order. All evidence obtained from the June and July wiretaps was ruled inadmissible at Mr. Evans’ trial.

Clearly, NLPA’s research paid off for Mr. Evans. Due to its experience, NLPA was well aware of the stringent requirements needed to obtain a wiretap order, and the necessity of continually meeting these requirements in order to obtain subsequent orders. While only one of the aforementioned arguments attacking the wiretap order was successful, NLPA notes that there are many ways to attack a wiretap order, all of which depend upon a comprehensive and technical reading of federal law. Furthermore, NLPA is not only at the forefront of attacking wiretap orders, but has consistently been at the forefront of many Fourth Amendment issues, as NLPA realizes that law enforcement must recognize the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions or documents necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your client.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although National Legal Professional Associates (NLPA) is owned by The Criminal Defense Firm, LLC (a law firm), National Legal Professional Associates is NOT a law firm and does not provide legal advice. Accordingly, the retention of National Legal Professional Associates does not create a client-lawyer relationship. National Legal Professional Associates’ research and writing services are provided under the direction and control of the defendant’s own legal counsel.

US v. Evans – Suppressing intercepted phone conversations when obtained illegally

Oftentimes, criminal defendants request assistance from NLPA regarding pre-trial issues. One of the most prevalent pre-trial issues that NLPA deals with is motions to suppress evidence. While most such motions involve an illegal stop of a vehicle or a faulty search warrant, NLPA is also involved in cutting edge research regarding the propriety of wiretaps. Such was the case regarding the prosecution of Marshall Evans in United States v. Reginald Chantez Rice, et al., No. 3:04CR-83-R (D. Ky. October 13, 2005). This case demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of pre-trial suppression arguments in an effort to ensure that criminal defendant’s are tried only upon evidence that has been properly and constitutionally obtained and is admissible at trial.

In Mr. Evans’ case, the government obtained a court order allowing for the use of a wiretap on May 26, 2004. A subsequent order was granted for the use of a wiretap on June 23, 2004. A third order was granted for use of a wiretap on July 21, 2004. Mr. Evans sought suppression of the evidence obtained from said wiretaps, as it was argued that: (1) the United States failed to minimize the intercepted communications as required by statute; (2) the affidavit supporting the June wiretap application lacked probable cause; (3) the extension of the June wiretap order was invalid because the June wiretap order was improvidently granted; (4) the United States failed to meet the requirement of attempting to employ normal investigative techniques; and (5) the recorded conversations were not sealed within the required time period.

The district court granted the suppression because the government failed to show that other investigative procedures had been tried and proven to be unsuccessful prior to requesting a wiretap. See 18 U.S.C. § 2518(1)(c). The government had previously heard suspects in this case conversing on cellular telephones. As such, the wiretap application mentioned that wiretapping said means of communication would be the easiest way to obtain the needed evidence. However, the government failed to list whether other investigatory means had been used. As such, the June wiretap order was invalid. As the June wiretap order was invalid, a subsequent July wiretap order was also ruled invalid, as it flowed from the initial wiretap order. All evidence obtained from the June and July wiretaps was ruled inadmissible at Mr. Evans’ trial.

Clearly, NLPA’s research paid off for Mr. Evans. Due to its experience, NLPA was well aware of the stringent requirements needed to obtain a wiretap order, and the necessity of continually meeting these requirements in order to obtain subsequent orders. While only one of the aforementioned arguments attacking the wiretap order was successful, NLPA notes that there are many ways to attack a wiretap order, all of which depend upon a comprehensive and technical reading of federal law. Furthermore, NLPA is not only at the forefront of attacking wiretap orders, but has consistently been at the forefront of many Fourth Amendment issues, as NLPA realizes that law enforcement must recognize the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions or documents necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your client.

US v. Sullivan – Successfully suppressing pretrial evidence obtained illegally without a warrant – another NLPA victory!

We all know that the question of admissibility of evidence is often one of the key aspects to the defense in a criminal prosecution. The case of United States v. Sullivan, (S.D. Illinois , #02-CR-40030-1) is a most recent example of how the team approach of National Legal Professional Associates working with counsel has successfully stopped the government in its attempts to use illegally obtained evidence against a defendant. In this case, NLPA assisted Benton, Illinois attorney Paula Newcomb, in researching and supporting a motion to suppress physical evidence discovered and seized in a warrantless search of a hotel room.

In United States v. Sullivan, the Defendant was indicted on one count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The general facts involved were that the Defendant and others had stayed at a local hotel. While the individuals were absent from the room, law enforcement officers arrived. The officers conducted an initial search of the room to determine if there were any safety issues to be addressed. Soon thereafter, they conducted a full search of the hotel room, obtained fingerprints from throughout the room including those on a receptacle containing a small amount of methamphetamine, and identified one fingerprint as belonging to the Defendant. From the evidence obtained, an indictment and subsequent arrest warrant were issued for the Defendant.

One of the key matters during the pretrial proceedings was whether the warrantless entry and search of the hotel room was proper in light of the Fourth Amendment and its case law progeny. The Defendant’s counsel, with arguments and research prepared by NLPA, argued to the Court that a warrantless entry and search of a hotel room can only be legal if it is based upon exigent circumstances. As noted to the Court, before agents of the government may invade the sanctity of the home, the burden is on the government to demonstrate exigent circumstances that overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that attaches to all warrantless home entries. The Fourth Amendment prohibits governmental intrusions into dwellings without a warrant supported by probable cause, subject to only a few carefully delineated exceptions.

The underlying theme to this important protection was once explained by Justice Jackson in McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451 (1948):

“Whether there is reasonable necessity for a search without waiting to obtain a warrant certainly depends upon the gravity of the offense thought to be in progress as well as the hazards of the method of attempting to reach it . . . It is to me a shocking proposition that private homes, even quarters in a tenement, may be indiscriminately invaded at the discretion of any suspicious police officer engaged in following up offenses that involve no violence or threats of it.”

Id. at 459-460.

Without an emergency situation demanding urgent police action, there is no excuse for the failure to procure a search warrant. In this case, there were no exigent circumstances to justify the entry. Hotel cleaning persons entered the room so that it could be cleaned. Upon entry, they claim to have noticed a foul odor in the air, and several items out of place. After finding these items, they locked the room and reported their findings to hotel management. Shortly thereafter, the officers arrived. No one could enter or exit the hotel room without the knowledge of the police.

Put simply, the hotel room was secure. There was ample time for the police to obtain a warrant to enter the dwelling if the police believed they had the necessary probable cause to do so. Thus, the warrantless entry was not justified and all evidence obtained subsequent to the entry should have been suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Exigent circumstances means that there is no time to obtain a warrant. In this case, the officers essentially ignored the constitutional protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and for that reason, the evidence obtained from the illegal search, it was argued to the Court, should be suppressed.

With NLPA’s assistance, research, and support, counsel made this argument to the Court. After obtaining substantial written memoranda, the trial court ultimately granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress with regard to physical evidence discovered and seized during searches conducted after the initial brief search of the hotel room. The research prepared by NLPA for Ms. Newcomb assisted the Court in holding that the Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated and that evidence should be suppressed.

Should you or your client find yourself in a similar situation, NLPA and its experienced research team stands ready to assist you with the most up-to-date research in the preparation of pleadings to protect your client’s rights. We look forward to another victory!