A Supreme Court Judge suppressed a loaded firearm in a Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree case. Deprived of a crucial piece of evidence, the prosecutor will likely dismiss the charges.
Mr. Rabah’s client was driving with his girlfriend in Queens County when he was stopped by police. Police had received a tip that the defendant was in possession of a loaded firearm and had been watching the defendant closely. Upon stopping the defendant’s vehicle, police determined that the defendant had an open warrant and that his license to drive a motor vehicle was suspended. The defendant was arrested and taken back to the precinct. His girlfriend was told to come to the precinct in order to conduct checks on the motor vehicle. This was a ruse to manipulate the girlfriend.
At the precinct, multiple police officers set upon the defendant’s girlfriend, using various psychological tactics to pressure and coerce her into authorizing a police search of the home she shared with her boyfriend, the defendant. Among the various underhanded techniques used by police, they showed her the defendant’s rap sheet in order to scare her; told her about other women that the defendant had been with to get her mad at him; threatened her with arrest if she would not let them search her apartment; threatened to take away her step-daughter; brought her into the cell area to see the defendant behind bars and put pressure on her to authorize a search of her home; took her cell phone away and isolated her for nearly an hour until she finally cracked. She signed consent to search form and police immediately went to the apartment.
At the apartment, police searched for and located a loaded firearm. The defendant was arrested for the weapon and he was ultimately charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. This charge carries a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted.
During a Mapp hearing for suppression of evidence, Mr. Rabah argued that police pressured the defendant’s girlfriend to sign the consent to search form. Mr. Rabah pointed to the numerous tactics employed by police and coercive atmosphere at the precinct that was created to force the defendant’s girlfriend to sign the form. In cross examining the police officer who stopped the defendant and searched the apartment, Mr. Rabah was able to demonstrate that the police forced the defendant’s girlfriend to sign the consent form and that her authorization was involuntary.
Based on this, the court determined that the consent given to search the home was involuntary and suppressed the firearm as having been obtained illegally. Without this key piece of evidence, Mr. Rabah expects the charges against the defendant to be dismissed.