People v. Cruz

APPELLATE TERM
SECOND DEPARTMENT
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Per Curiam

Prosecutors appealed from a Criminal Court order granting Cruz's motion to suppress. Cruz was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, and moved for suppression of physical evidence recovered by the arresting officer as the fruits of an illegal search. Officer Kekatos testified that after pulling Cruz's vehicle over after observing him driving with a defective brake light, he asked if there were weapons in the vehicle. Cruz responded in the negative, but when Kekatos looked into the vehicle, he observed a clip attached to Cruz's pants' pocket. He testified the clip was metal, but could not describe it further. The court held Kekatos' observation of a clip attached to Cruz's pocket, without more, did not give rise to a reasonable suspicion to justify the seizure of a gravity knife from Cruz. Reargument was previously granted, but the court adhered to its original decision, granting suppression. The panel affirmed, concluding suppression was properly granted as a detaining officer must have a reason to believe the object observed was a gravity knife. It found it impermissible for Kekatos to pull the gravity knife from Cruz's pants' pocket solely based on the observation of a clip attached as he was unable to assert specific facts leading to his belief Cruz possessed a gravity knife.

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