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Fourth Circuit affirms suppression of fruits of the poisonous tree

Feb 07, 2012 Fourth Circuit affirms suppression of fruits of the poisonous tree

Prosecutors often will try to overcome bad searches by claiming such factors as inevitable discovery, and intervening events that cure any taint.

Praised be the Fourth Circuit recently, 2-1, for not buying the prosecutor’s arguments over an unconstitutional stop of a car, without which the cops would not have known that the defendant was armed. U.S. v. Gaines, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., Jan. 27, 2012).

Gaines accepted the trial court’s finding that the stop of Gaines’s car violated the Fourth Amendment, because police would not have been able to see the windshield crack in defendant’s car prior to stopping Gaines’s car, and that the subsequent seizure of Gaines’s gun also was unconstitutional.

This having been a 2-1 opinion, it remains all the more to see whether the prosecution files for en banc review of Gaines. 

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