High Court Grants Cert to Unlawful Search Case
WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will decide whether police can use a search warrant to detain suspects they find outside the address in question.
In July 2005, acting on information form a confidential informant, Suffolk County Police Department detectives obtained a search warrant for a basement apartment located in Wyandanch, N.Y.
The search warrant specifically identified a basement apartment at the rear of the premises, and did not note that access to the basement door at the rear of the house was possible from both the basement apartment and from the house upstairs.
Upon their arrival, detectives saw two individuals, including the petitioner, Chunon "Polo" Bailey, leave the back of the residence. They allowed the men to get into a black Lexus and drive off, but apprehended them about a mile from the home.
By the time detectives returned to the house, with Bailey and the other man, Bryant Middleton, now held in the back of a police cruiser, officers searching the apartment had found at least five grams of cocaine and a firearm.
Bailey was later convicted on three counts, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and sentenced to concurrent terms of 300 and 120 months imprisonment, a consecutive term of 60 months imprisonment, and five years supervised release.
On appeal, Bailey claimed that the police obtained evidence during an unlawful detention in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
He also claimed that his attorneys were constitutionally ineffective.
On the first claim, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York concluded that the detectives' authority to detain Bailey was not strictly confined to the physical premises of the apartment, so long as detention occurred as soon as practicable after he left the premises.
Bailey's claim that he received ineffective trial counsel was based on his contention his attorney failed to introduce the fact that access to the basement door at the rear of the residence could be gained from either the basement apartment or the house upstairs.
Bailey contends this is relevant because his detention and the detectives' claim they had reasonable suspicion to detain him could not stand unless the detectives could demonstrate conclusively that he and Middleton had emerged from the basement apartment.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco shot down this claim as well, and the 2nd Circuit affirmed on both counts in July 2011.