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Warrantless Detention Case Heads to Supreme Court

June 04, 2012  | 

Photo: POLICE file
Photo: POLICE file

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether police can detain a suspect who leaves a location while officers are waiting for a search warrant for the location.

Justices agreed to consider the appeal of Chunon Bailey, who was sentenced to 30 years on drug and weapon charges stemming from his arrest in 2005, reports Courthouse News.

Prior to his arrest, Suffolk County (N.Y.) Police Department detectives obtained a search warrant for a basement apartment located in Wyandanch, N.Y. When detectives arrived at the location, they saw Bailey and a second man leave the location from the rear. Bailey was arrested nearby and a search of the location revealed five grams of cocaine and a firearm.


Comments (1)

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John Tate (New Mex.) @ 6/5/2012 3:21 PM

In NM, you may detain a/the resident during a search, but not necessarily anyone else.

See State v. Neal, 142 NM 176, para 26 - 27 (NMSC 2007) citing State v. Graves, 119 NM 89 (NMCA 1994).

"In Graves, the Court of Appeals held that 'mere presence does not justify the arrest or detention of a person, other than the resident, at a residence lawfully being searched.' The police were executing a valid search warrant that named to be searched 'any persons and/or vehicles which can be shown to be involved in drug dealing (purchasing or selling).' In addition to the residents of the house, police detained and handcuffed non-residents, including the defendant, for at least thirty minutes, despite any shown connection with the drugs and paraphernalia discovered on the premises or any other grounds to suspect such a connection.

"The Court concluded that no circumstances existed to give rise to reasonable suspicion to believe the defendant was involved in criminal activity and no articulable reason to detain him. In holding that mere presence was insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion to detain a non-resident, the Court reasoned that 'recognizing presence alone as sufficient to detain a person found on premises subject to a search warrant would provide unlimited and unreviewable discretion. Such discretion, we believe, would betray the underlying principles of the Fourth Amendment."

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