I’ve noticed an increase in the aggressiveness of police tactics recently. I’ve been practicing criminal law in Illinois for the past 23 years. Over the years I’ve seen some egregious behavior on the part of police but in general the trend toward misconduct and police brutality has been on the wane. Christopher G.’s case is a good example of that overzealousness, and how we as criminal defense attorneys can combat it.
Christopher G. was seated in a parked car on north Clark Street last February. Police approached and interviewed him because his baseball cap was tilted to one side of his head. They explained that this can be indicative of gang involvement. In order to interview Christopher, the officers pulled next to his vehicle effectively blocking him in. They claimed to have smelled Cannabis and asked Christopher and his passenger to exit the car. They recovered a handgun in the passenger area and cocaine in the front driver side door.
As citizens of the U.S. we are all protected against improper searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. When the officers searched Christopher solely based on the way he was wearing his baseball cap, they violated those rights. During the Preliminary Hearing I was able to lock in the officer’s testimony as to the basis of the illegal stop. We later filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence and were granted a hearing.
The Judge agreed that the stop was improper and ordered the seized evidence suppressed. Due to the fact that the State could not proceed without the evidence, the case was DISMISSED