Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AD1: Decisions for March 6, 8, 13 & 15, 2007

All is quiet down at the First Department. Four packets, two notable decisions. Here they are.

People v Wilder, 2007 NY Slip Op 02024 [available here]

After responding to a reported street fight, a police officer took one of the fight participants aside and had him drop the two black plastic bags he was holding. The officer then looked inside the bags. The First Department upheld the search; "[t]his minimal intrusion was not unlawful, but justified by the officer's founded fear that the bags may have contained a dangerous instrument." (Wilder, 2007 NY Slip Op 02024.)

People v Gatling, 2007 NY Slip Op 01811 [available here]

The Court held that a suspect was not under full de facto arrest despite "the fact that the police detained defendant at gunpoint and used handcuffs [...]." (Gatling, 2007 NY Slip Op 01811.) The stop was a so-called "investigative detention", and the use of guns and handcuffs was "fully justified . . . as a precautionary measure during the brief period in which the police awaited the arrival of the victim." (Id. at __) No discussion of whether a reasonable, innocent person would feel free to leave upon being handcuffed at gunpoint.