Attorney Charles Allen was successful in his Motion to Suppress Evidence as a Result of an Unconstitutional Search, and as a result, his client’s criminal charges were dismissed by the District Attorney’s office and our client’s record was sealed in court the same day!
Through extensive review of case discovery and open communication with his client, Charles weeded through hours of body cam footage, police reports and lab reports to clear his client’s name and prevent him from felony charges that would have impacted him for the rest of his life. Charles drilled the prosecutor’s expert witness, a former police officer, to pinpoint the inconsistencies in his testimony and show the court how his client’s Constitutional Rights were violated. Charles showed the Court through case law that the Court, based on the facts of the case, must dismiss the charges against his client.
- “The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article II, section 7 of the Colorado Constitution provide that the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and thus proscribe all unreasonable searches and seizures.” People v. Wright 804 P.2d 866, 869 (Colo. 1991).
- “Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article II, section 7 of the Colorado Constitution, warrantless searches are per se unreasonable unless they fall under a specifically established and well-delineated exception to the warrant requirement.” People v. Taylor, 296 P.3d 317, 321 (COA 2012) (citing City of Ontario v. Quon 560 U.S. 746 (2010)).
- “The burden of proof, however, always remains with the prosecution to establish that a warrantless search falls within one of the narrowly defined exceptions to the warrant requirement.” People v. Syrie, 101 P.3d 219 (2004).
Additionally, Charles broke down the District Attorney’s argument of a medical exemption by proving the expert witness didn’t have cause for the unwarranted search as the defendant was able to identify himself and did not provide permission for the search. Further, the client was already receiving medical care despite the lack of identification.
- “The medical emergency exception will support a warrantless search of a person’s purse or wallet when the person is found in an unconscious or semi-conscious condition and the purpose of the search is to discover evidence of identity and other information that might enhance the prospect of administering appropriate medical assistance to the person.” Wright at 869 (citing Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385, 392-93 (1978)).
- “[The court] acknowledge[s] that there may be circumstances where it is necessary for an officer to make a warrantless search of a purse or wallet for information essential to the proper discharge of administrative responsibilities unrelated to the detection of crime.” Wright at 870.
- Performing a warrantless search for the discharge of administrative responsibilities “must be limited to those situations in which there is no reasonable alternative available to the officer.” Wright at 870-71 (emphasis added).
Finally, Attorney Charles Allen proved to the Court that since his client was never charged with a crime prior or during the search that the evidence obtained in violation cannot be used against him.
- “Under [the exclusionary] rule, evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used in a criminal proceeding against the victim of the illegal search and seizure.” United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 347 (1974) (citing Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 384 (1914); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)).
While this case was a huge win for Charles’ client and the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, the Court also questioned the actions of the prosecutor’s expert witness. The Court took upon itself to question the officer and make its own findings.
While not every search is unlawful, the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC are knowledgeable and have experience to find the truth and fight for their clients’ rights. If you have been charged criminally in the State of Colorado and think that you also have been subject to an unlawful search resulting in criminal charges, call our office today at (719) 328-1616 for a free ½ hour consultation.