Sep 01, 2017 Virginia criminal lawyer on furtive motions leading to probable cause to search
Police generally may not seize and search others’ property without the owner’s or custodian’s consent, probable cause to search, or a search warrant. As a Virginia criminal lawyer, I regularly challenge police searches and seizures.
One of the threshold questions in challenging police searches and seizures is whether the defendant has Fourth Amendment Constitutional standing to challenge the search in the first place. A criminal defendant generally has such standing if the defendant had and maintained an ownership or possessory interest over the seized property.
Jazmine Kersey this week, learned her lesson on search and seizure. The Virginia Court of Appeals (unpublished) affirmed Kersey’s cocaine possession conviction, and in the process ruled that the police lawfully seized a cocaine-residue-containing dollar bill that Kersey passed to a friend while waiting to be booked on an open arrest warrant. Kersey v. Virginia, Virginia Ct. of Appeals, Rec. No. 1324-16-2.
Kersey found that she did not relinquish her reasonable expectation of privacy — and, therefore, standing — to then challenge the search and seizure, merely by handing over the cocaine-containing dollar bill to Kersey’s friend. Jerzey ended up affirming Kersey’s conviction, finding that the trial judge had sufficient evidence, including furtive movements and an unusually folded dollar bill, that permitted a finding of probable cause to search the dollar bill.
Kersey’s first mistake was going to the police station in the first place. If Kersey wanted to go to the police station no matter what that night, she would have been wise to first have assured she had no contraband on her. Finally, Kersey and all other criminal defendants should heed my warning of the risks of talking to the police at all when they are criminal suspects.
Virginia criminal lawyer pursues your best defense, since 1991. To consult with our Fairfax criminal lawyer Jon Katz, please schedule an appointment through our staff, at 703-383-1100.