People v. Vernon B.

KINGS COUNTY
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge John Hecht

Prosecutors sought to compel Vernon to submit to a DNA swab to decide if his DNA was on a weapon police alleged they saw him toss out his home window. The court held the motion in abeyance pending a suppression hearing, noting if the gun was seized in violation of Vernon's privacy rights, the DNA order would be a non-issue. Officers went to Vernon's home to attempt to gain access by consent as the confidential informant did not wish to "swear out a warrant" regarding information of a weapon at the premises. One officer was stationed at the back of the house, and noticed Vernon throwing what appeared to be a gun out a window. The officer retrieved the weapon, and Vernon was arrested inside the home, with Vernon's mother's consent. The court found the officer's observations gave him probable cause to search Vernon's yard for the gun, and upon recovery for police to arrest Vernon for its possession. Based on exigent circumstances, it ruled a warrant was not needed, noting police did not create the exigency as they merely knocked on the door, explained the purpose of their visit and were invited inside by the mother. Thus, the court ordered Vernon to submit to the swab, concluding police lawfully seized the gun.

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