Case Conclusion Date: April 1, 2008
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: POSSESSION OF A METH PIPE DISMISSAL
Description: My client was standing under a street light in the Rollingwood area of San Bruno hills. The officer who was responsible for patrolling this area testified in court that it is a "high crime" area. He testified that he was particularly alert on the night in question because of a recent rash of auto burglaries. My client was approximately 20 feet from the nearest car when the officer drove up with his headlights off. The officer was immediately suspicious of my client because it was almost 3 a.m. and my client was wearing a back pack and a dark trench coat in the summertime. Upon seeing my client the officer immediately turned his headlights on and shone his spotlight on my client. After greeting my client "good morning" the officer asked my client for his identification. My client did not have any identification on him and the officer asked him to verbally identify himself. My client did and the officer ran his name through the wants and warrants system over his radio and in his presence without finding any outstanding warrants. This wants and warrants check may have taken anywhere between 2 minutes to up to 10 minutes. My Client remained in the spotlight with the officer "likely" by him throughout the duration of their contact. At some point while waiting for the results of the wants and warrants check the officer asked my client for consent to search him. My client agreed. The officer discovered a methamphetamine pipe in his backpack. At the hearing on the motion to suppress that I filed, the District Attorney argued that the officer's discovery of the methamphetamine pipe was the product of a consensual encounter and consent to search given by my client. However, the judge agreed with the defense position that my client was ambushed and in the judge's own words "froze him like a deer in the headlights." The judge found that my client's consent to search was the product of an unlawful detention and therefore granted the defense motion to suppress the officer's discovery of my client's meth pipe. The District Attorney dismissed the case against my client after the court's ruling.