State v. S.K.; Case No. 2009-CF-251(St Lucie County)
Arresting Agency: St. Lucie County Sheriffs Office.
Case Summary: Our client was followed by the police after they allege he stopped to talk to a woman in the middle of the street on the north side of Fort Pierce, or what the local police like to call a “high crime/drug area”. Ah, you gotta love “the fort”. The police said that our client exchanged something with the woman, but they did not see what it was that had been exchanged. A few miles down the road the police went ahead and pulled our client over for changing lanes without a signal. In what is standard protocol at the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee, we took a ride out to get a good look at, diagram, and photograph the road and the traffic lanes involved. Although we know the search and seizure case law that applies in these kinds of situations by heart, we researched the law just to be certain we knew exactly how to question the police during their depositions. After brainstorming the strategic options, we carefully crafted our questions so as to make it crystal clear that a police violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution had occurred. This would enable us to argue that the cocaine that was found in my client’s car was “fruit of the poisonous tree” and therefore inadmissible. Put another way, because the police conducted a traffic stop without probable cause that a traffic infraction had occurred, anything the police find afterward can’t be used against my client because his Constitutional right to privacy was violated. After the depositions were transcribed, communication with the prosecutor was initiated by the defense.
Result: The State dropped the case.
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Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties