4th Amendment Strikes Again

Today at 26th and California, prosecutors dismissed a case after a judge granted Villalobos & Associates’ motion to suppress evidence after police conducted an illegal search of his pockets.

Our client started backing out of his parking space at Walgreens when he heard a honk.  A marked Chicago police car was driving by but stopped so that he could not back out of the parking space.  After he parked his car, the police car didn’t move so he then exited the vehicle.  Police officers immediately ordered him to put his hands on the hood of his car. The officers then conducted a full body frisk and searched through his wallet.

In a pre-trial motion, Villalobos & Associates moved to quash the arrest and suppress any evidence that police found when they conducted the illegal search.  The 4th Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to detain someone, police must have reasonable, articulable suspicion that the person has committed (or is committing) a crime.  In addition, in order to search a person police must have either the consent of the person or must believe that that the person is carrying a weapon and is a danger to the police or others.  Police may not search a person just because they have an unparticularized hunch that someone is engaging in criminal activity.  Moreover, they cannot search people with the sole intent of finding evidence.

In this case, police had no reason to stop our client because they did not have any a reasonable, articulable suspicion that he had committed a crime.  Because he was just backing up his car but stopped when he heard the car’s horn honking, he had not even committed a traffic violation.  Second, the police had no reason to believe that our client was dangerous and carrying a weapon.  Most importantly, after the police frisked our client, they had no reason to believe that it was  necessary to continue searching in his wallet.

Unfortunately, this kind of search happens very frequently and people do not realize that their 4th Amendment rights have been violated.  Villalobos & Associates has extensive experience with these types of cases and can help you if you have been charged with a crime after the police performed an illegal search.