People v. Fernandez

BRONX COUNTY
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Troy K. Webber

Officers responded to a call regarding a fight with a knife. Upon arrival at the scene an individual approached them, identified himself and stated he saw the person who stabbed the victim, describing him and pointing in the direction he fled. Officers took the witness in their vehicle, and stopped Fernandez and another male after the witness conclusively identified him. The officer observed Fernandez toss a shiny object to the ground, appearing to be a weapon. After both men were secured, an officer retrieved a knife and scissors from the area Fernandez threw them and was arrested. Defense counsel argued the witness was an informant who provided a tip to the officers, thus there should be an Aguillar-Spinelli analysis—where an informant was an identified citizen and prosecutors can show the informant's knowledge was based on criminal activity he had personal knowledge of. The court noted the witness approached officers, identified himself and stated he saw the fight and the individual who committed the stabbing, describing and identifying him. Thus, the officers were reasonable in their conclusion the witness was reliable. The court also concluded officers were justified in physically detaining Fernandez, and denied suppression.

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