Thursday, December 14, 2006

U.S. v. Coley (Maryland U.S.D.C.)

Decided December 13, 2006--Chief Judge Benson Everett Legg.

Fourth Amendment, motion to suppress evidence. Defendant contended that a gun found as a result of a pursuit by Baltimore City detectives should not be admitted into evidence because it was the fruit of an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

The defendant, when stopped by police officers, began to run. He was then taken into custody. After he was taken into custody, one of the police officers reported that he saw the defendant throw something away during the chase. Further investigation resulted in the recovery of a handgun. The defendant claimed that (i) the officers acted without probable cause when taking him into custody, (ii) that the seizure of the gun was the result of that arrest and was thus the fruit of an illegal seizure.

The Court found that because defendant ran from the detectives, he did not submit to police authority and, therefore, there was no seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Since there was no seizure, the gun Defendant dropped during the pursuit was abandoned property and would be admitted as evidence.

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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