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  • True Scenario...

    Your opinions and thoughts on the following scenario are appreciated. This is based on a true story...

    Its around 2am in January and is extremely cold outside. You are dispatched to a call in a housing project that has an extreme history of violence and an open air drug market.

    The anonymous caller says "In front of 123 Smith street, there is a heavy set black male, wearing a brown leather coat, blue jeans, and a black brimmed hat. The guy is leaning up against a red Ford Taurus and is selling drugs".

    You respond to the area. Sure enough, in front of 123 Smith street, you locate a heavy set black male wearing a brown leather coat, blue jeans...and a black brimmed hat. And, as the caller stated, he is leaning over the trunk of a car (whole body leaning on car...left arm across trunk). He is standing there talking to a friend.

    You walk up and make contact with the guy. He is not somebody you have arrested before but you have seen him in the neighborhood at all hours. While attempting to make contact, he has a cell phone in his right hand and is talking on it. You ask him if he would not mind hanging up while you are talking with him. He wants to know what everything is about. You explain the nature of the call to him and he laughs. He says "Give me one second to give my cousin directions here" He talks for a brief moment and hangs up. You again explain the nature of the call and ask him for identification. You notice that he places the cell phone down with his right hand and then reaches into his back pocket to retrieve his ID with the same hand. You notice that he is not moving his left arm at all that is on the trunk.

    Your dispatcher than radios you that the anonymous caller just called back and says "He is hiding something under his left arm on the trunk". You have already observed that he is not moving it. You ask the gentleman to stand up. He doesn't and continues to act casual. You say "I know you have something under your arm, now stand up and lift your arm of the trunk".

    He does so. Under his arm is a brown cigar wrapper with MJ in the center..otherwise known as a blunt. He says "You got me" and turns with both hands in the air...You put on the cuffs and tell him he's under arrest. He tells you that he was in the process of rolling the blunt when you rolled up.

    The case goes to court...the judge tosses it and finds the guy Not Guilty.
    I want to hear your opinions as to why you think this happened. I will then explain what happened in the courtroom.

  • #2
    Either a stupid judge, rookie DA, or poor articulation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Taylor1430

      The case goes to court...the judge tosses it and finds the guy Not Guilty.
      I want to hear your opinions as to why you think this happened. I will then explain what happened in the courtroom.
      It was his lawyers turn to have a case tossed. You did what you were supposed to do. Somedays you're the windshield, somedays you're the bug. Get used to it.

      If he spent the night in jail and had to come up with bail (that has a nice ring to it) you win.

      It was just a joint, don't sweat it.
      "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

      By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't take it personally at all...I was just a little shocked. And you are right...it was just a little weed and not a big deal. In fact, the guy was extremely cooperative that night and probably one of the nicer lock-ups I've had in awhile.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Taylor1430
          I don't take it personally at all...I was just a little shocked. And you are right...it was just a little weed and not a big deal. In fact, the guy was extremely cooperative that night and probably one of the nicer lock-ups I've had in awhile.
          You must have overlooked his big stash then. Probably had 5 pounds in the trunk. In any case, you went home, he probably didn't, so you win.
          "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

          By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh

          Comment


          • #6
            I wouldn't sweat it. Here, the stiffest sentence you can get for a joint is a $180 fine. We can't even book for it.
            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

            Comment


            • #7
              My understanding is there has been controvery over how much 'probable cause/reasonable suspicion' can be 'offered' by an anonymous caller. There is some case history recently overturned which use to allow us the anonymous caller, absent our own p.c. Now we need more of our own, at least articulated.

              scrubb
              “You sleep safe in your beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do you harm.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Softscrubb
                My understanding is there has been controvery over how much 'probable cause/reasonable suspicion' can be 'offered' by an anonymous caller. There is some case history recently overturned which use to allow us the anonymous caller, absent our own p.c. Now we need more of our own, at least articulated.

                scrubb
                Scrubb is sadly correct. That case is FLORIDA v. J. L. The short version is this.. an anonymous caller calls 911 and says a black male juvenile with a black coat is standing on the bus stop and has a gun in his coat pocket. That is about all the information given. The call gets dispatched, the officer goes up to the juvenile on the bus stop, conducts a pat down based on the reasonable suspicion given by the caller, and behold-- finds a gun in his pocket.

                Your case sounds rather similar in terms of how it started... Absent other factors, reasonable suspicion is harder to come by in your case. Based on your description, I am going to guess that your judge tossed it because he is going to say it wasn't a consensual contact when you ordered him to lift up his arm, but there wasn't reasonable articulable suspicion to do so either. Toss in the whole anonymous tipster case listed above and a liberal judge and voila -- another dealer walks.. How close am I?

                You still did a good arrest -- you id'ed another dealer and you will catch him dirty again. These cases are frustrating, because you know he is dirty -- it is just that proof is hard to come by sometimes.

                A couple of things to consider for the future -- absent other hand to hand transactions or obvious behavior of dealing by the subject, you could possibly change the whole thing to a consentual contact - "do you mind if I talk to you?... I got this call that said you were dealing, and I don't really believe it, but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind if you let me check you real quick so I can get both of us on our way (to the booking room..heh heh)? You would be surprise how many dealers go, "oh sure..no problem" and then voila -- nickel bags, crack rocks, etc...

                Another idea, probably not as feaseable if you are in a marked squad in the projects -- but sit down a few blocks and watch him... if he does some hand to hand transactions you have just established your own reasonable suspicion above and beyond the anonymous tip. Remember that you are patting the subject down for weapons -- because in our training and experience with drugs and drug activity, guns are very often present. So we pat down the subject for officer safety.

                HIDTA does some fantastic training on patrol drug interdiction / investigations -- if you GOOGLE "MCTFT" - you will find some classes which go over this stuff...

                Sorry you lost the case -- you will catch him dirty again...now you know who you are looking for!

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's hard to say. Maybe the fact that his reason to stop was based upon an annonymus tip, not reasonable suspicion. The judge probably looked at whether the officer would have discovered the evidence despite the caller. Who knows, it could be a lot of things.
                  -Stay safe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    MilwaukeeCU, You pretty much hit it on the head. By having to tell him to stand up...twice...it is now an 'order' given by me so he is no longer acting under his own free will, therefore it was tossed on discovery/4th ammendment issues. While it was a little bit of weed and no big deal, I was more surprised than anything.

                    His lawyer argued what is wrong with a guy leaning on his car in front of his house at 2 am and I had no right to ask him to stand up...even if I knew from my own observation he was hiding something under his arm...could have been a blunt or could have been a gun.

                    The states attorney even argued (and the judged laughed at him) that the car did not belong to the guy...it belonged to one of his neighbors, and that I was fully within my duty to tell him to not lean on somebody else's car and to get him to stand up LOL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      may not have mattered much, but if you could articulate that due to the suspects reluctance to move his left arm, you believed that he could be holding a weapon. Because as you said, a known drug area with open air selling. Drugs and weapons are common in the drug trade and due to the suspects suspicious movements, you may have concluded that a weapon was under his arm. But like all the other have said, someday your the dog someday your the hydrant.

                      True story of mine. Stop a car for loud exhaust. Passenger in the backseat is placing her hands down the front of her pants. Advised her to stop and she does it a few more times. I get the girl out and before a female officer checks her, I asked her if she has anything in the front her pants. She pulls out a meth pipe. I advised the prosecutor that I asked if she had anything in her pants for officer safety. We all ask this before searching or patting down a suspect. Well, the pipe was tossed because the defense lawyer stated that I did not have enough cause to have her exit the vehicle or ask if she had anything down her pants. The defense stated if I felt threatened, I should have had her place her hands on the trunk of the vehicle. Well I work in a small town where taking things slowly, instead of pulling our guns and ordering people out at gunpoint like KCK or other bigs cities would.
                      Some said I was right, some say I was wrong. But none the less, I look at this way: one pipe no longer on the street, suspect spent two nights in jail, had to come up with bail money is better than one year probation. Plus I will use the info the defense gave in future arrest.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Taylor1430
                        MilwaukeeCU, You pretty much hit it on the head. By having to tell him to stand up...twice...it is now an 'order' given by me so he is no longer acting under his own free will, therefore it was tossed on discovery/4th ammendment issues. While it was a little bit of weed and no big deal, I was more surprised than anything.

                        His lawyer argued what is wrong with a guy leaning on his car in front of his house at 2 am and I had no right to ask him to stand up...even if I knew from my own observation he was hiding something under his arm...could have been a blunt or could have been a gun.

                        The states attorney even argued (and the judged laughed at him) that the car did not belong to the guy...it belonged to one of his neighbors, and that I was fully within my duty to tell him to not lean on somebody else's car and to get him to stand up LOL
                        His rights are your rights. Deny him his rights, and rest assured that your's too can be likewise denied.

                        An annonymous caller brought you to a man doing nothing observable that was improper, an annonymous caller caused you to order him to make some movements to uncover what was not observable. An annonymous caller absent some corroboration is worthless as evidence of anything.

                        About the car, if I lone my car to a buddy, it's between he and I as to whether he may lean on it or not, it is none of the government's buisness absent a complaint from the person who has standing to make such a complaint ... being me ... the owner of the car.

                        You got his MJ, be happy you didn't have it escalate into something which could have lead to a law suit.

                        Don't misunderstand, you went home.


                        "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                        "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                        >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                        Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What T150 said - as usual.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by t150vsuptpr
                            His rights are your rights. Deny him his rights, and rest assured that your's too can be likewise denied.

                            An annonymous caller brought you to a man doing nothing observable that was improper, an annonymous caller caused you to order him to make some movements to uncover what was not observable. An annonymous caller absent some corroboration is worthless as evidence of anything.

                            About the car, if I lone my car to a buddy, it's between he and I as to whether he may lean on it or not, it is none of the government's buisness absent a complaint from the person who has standing to make such a complaint ... being me ... the owner of the car.

                            You got his MJ, be happy you didn't have it escalate into something which could have lead to a law suit.

                            Don't misunderstand, you went home.


                            While nothing that you have said is totally untrue, all it would take is a bit of ARTICULATION to get around any obstacles that are present. Is this a high crime area? Did he act nervous? Could you have asked him to lift his hand instead of ordering it? Did you believe he was hiding contraband OR possibly a weapon?

                            Oh ...... and there was coroboration ------ he caller said he was hiding something. You verified it.

                            Also, lawsuit? That is why policing sucks now. You CATCH BG with contraband, but somehow you are the one who needs to pay.
                            "Socrates was a philosopher. He talked a lot. They killed him." unknown to me.

                            "Evil prevails when good men do nothing."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scratch13
                              While nothing that you have said is totally untrue, all it would take is a bit of ARTICULATION to get around any obstacles that are present. Is this a high crime area? Did he act nervous? Could you have asked him to lift his hand instead of ordering it? Did you believe he was hiding contraband OR possibly a weapon?

                              Oh ...... and there was coroboration ------ he caller said he was hiding something. You verified it.

                              Also, lawsuit? That is why policing sucks now. You CATCH BG with contraband, but somehow you are the one who needs to pay.
                              I have no problem with careful and detailed articulation of facts one had in his posession at the time.

                              It's when they start embelishing things to make this case, or that case, maybe throw in a few minute details that ... may not be present, and soon enough, it get's to be habit, and then one day it maybe leads to an innocent man getting zinged, maybe costs someone some time, maybe get's a LEO's job, etc. that I have a problem with. Maybe it only get's noticed by a few closest coworkers and maybe they go a whole career lucky enough to only have 5 or 8 guys know that they can't be trusted.

                              The end does not necessarily justify the means.

                              Again, I have no problem with the careful and thorough articulation of fact, I do it all the time in reports, testimony at the magistrate's office, or on the stand. One must allways be certain that it is fact based on knowledge he had in his posession at the time he acted on an arrest or seizure that he articulates.

                              "Articulate" is not just another word for "fudge it".

                              Like I said before, only in fewer words then ...
                              ... If we can't safegard the rights of the people we encounter today, who are we to complain when our same rights are violated next month, next year, or in 15 years even ... when we may be the ones under scrutiny?

                              I suspect we are pretty close to the same page .... stay safe.

                              Last edited by t150vsuptpr; 04-14-2007, 12:07 AM.
                              "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                              "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                              >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                              Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

                              Comment

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