Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

CHARLESTOWN NAVY YARD SEARCH AND SEIZURE RULING IN DRUNK DRIVING ARREST MAY GO TO THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT

Are you still thinking that it might be a neat idea to try to out-run the police? How about federal officials? Do you think, perhaps, if you keep the chase going long enough, leaving the jurisdiction in which they are authorized to make arrests, they will simply give up?

Sayeth this Boston criminal lawyer, “think again!”.

In the recent case of United States v. Ryan, the First Circuit Court Of Appeals addressed the issue.

It seems that, in 2007, Mr. Kevin Ryan (hereinafter, the ” Appellant”) was driving along at the Charlestown Navy Yard, which is on federal property, United States Park Ranger David LaMere observed him drive erratically.

The Court indicated, ” LaMere followed Ryan, turned on his cruiser lights, and stopped Ryan to issue a citation. By the time LaMere turned on his lights, however, he and [Appellant] had left the Charlestown Navy Yard and were no longer on federal land.” Nevertheless, upon stopping in observing the Appellant, the Ranger noticed that he seemed to be under the influence.

Showing poor judgment already, the Appellant eliminated doubt by telling the trooper that he had, indeed, been drinking “four or five beers”. As if to eliminate all doubt, the Appellent voluntarily took four field sobriety tests, which “showed several indications that he was impaired,” according to LaMere.

The Appellant was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, and refusal to submit to a breath test (while this is not a crime under Massachusetts state law, this was a federal case and so federal law applies.).

The Appellant moved to suppress the evidence from his arrest on the grounds that the officer lacked the authority to arrest him. The magistrate judge agreed that the officer lacked statutory authority to arrest the Appellant but refused to suppress the evidence because the arrest was not an unreasonable seizure. The district judge affirmed the magistrate judge’s decision not to suppress the evidence.

Now, The First Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed, holding that the Appellant’s arrest did not constitute the kind of invasion of privacy that the Fourth Amendment prohibits.

The next potential judicial stop for the issue? The United States Supreme Court if it will take the case. You see, the Supreme Court has apparently not ruled on this precise issue before. However, it has ruled in an earlier case that the Fourth Amendment does not require the exclusion of evidence obtained in a search incident to an arrest that violates state law.

While this case differs in some respects from the earlier case, the court reviewed other appellate decisions in other jurisdictions and ended up following the perceived lead of the Supreme Court and upheld the search.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Criminal Justice Land Of Search And Seizure

The laws of search and seizure can effect any criminal matter. These rules, created to uphold the Constitutional rights of any suspect who is being investigated by the police from “unreasonable” intrusions into our privacy. Primarily, they involve such things as the search of one’s home or car, to coercive questioning and the search of one’s person.

In Massachusetts, we not only have the United States Constitution to protect us, but the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights as well. Being that these documents were drafted quite awhile ago, and since society has moved on a great deal since then, various interpretations and re-interpretations are made by way of statutes and cases such as the Ryan case.

This is one reason why, in any criminal matter, you are best advised to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Quickly.

In the meantime, let’s discuss this case and what it means.

Tomorrow.

To read the opinion upon which this blog is based, please go to http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca1/11-2341/11-2341-2013-09-30.html

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