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Consent to search must be voluntary or evidence will be suppressed

Officers seeking to search one's residence know that obtaining a search warrant can be time consuming and troublesome.  It's much easier if they can simply obtain the suspect's consent to search.  But that consent must be freely and voluntarily given.  If there is an element of coercion, then any consent, even a written one, is invalid requiring suppression of any incriminating evidence found and case dismissal.

In a case heard Jan. 18, 2013 I filed a motion to suppress evidence in a case charging my client with possession for sale of a substantial quantity of drugs found in his home (along with paraphernalia and other damning evidence--eg. cell phone texts).  My motion was detailed laying out several grounds for suppression including coerced consent.

At the hearing, I cross examined the narcotics detective and established the following: that my client at first said no to the cop's request for a consent search.  The cop then asked who lived at the residence.  Client stated his sick wife.  Cop said that sick wife would go to jail if he had to get a search warrant but promised to not arrest her if client consented to the search.  The court found this to be an involuntary consent, suppressed the evidence and dismissed the case.  The court praised my work on the written motion and oral presentation.   

Client's comment: "That was the best money I ever spent (my fee)."  My comment: "Of course it was."

 

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MICHAEL SHULTZ


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MICHAEL L. SHULTZ, ATTORNEY AT LAW

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STATE BAR SINCE DEC 1972
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