My client’s entire case was thrown out when I challenged the validity of the police officer’s search in court.

The SITUATION: My client was facing serious misdemeanor drug charges.

My client and his friend were walking in a residential neighborhood in the South Bay area of San Diego.  The police decided to search both men based on it being a high crime gang area, an area known for gang graffiti, and the fact that the apartment complex posted signs that said “no loitering.”  This officer drove up to the men, asked them where they lived, and demanded to pat both of them down for weapons.  Upon patting them down, the officer claims he found a meth pipe in my client’s pocket.

The RESULT: All evidence was tossed and the case was dismissed.

I immediately challenged the validity of the search and frisk based on a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  I filed written points and authorities detailing why the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop the men and no suspicion that they were armed to justify the pat-down search.  I demanded a hearing on the matter.

A hearing was held and the police officer was forced to explain to the court why the search was justified.  He could not do so.  The officer testified that the reason he patted the men down was because one of them had gang symbols on his back pack.  The judge opined that it is not illegal to be in a gang, nor is it illegal to have gang symbols on one’s backpack.  The judge then granted my motion to suppress the illegal police search and immediately dismissed the case against my client.

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