Search and Seizure Defense Attorney
A recent Illinois Appellate Court decision in People v. Neal, No. 1-09-2814 (June 29, 2011) Cook Co., 3d Div. is just another example of the current eroding of the Fourth Amendment. A Chicago Police Officer detains a man who is out on the yelling “blows”. He never sees the defendant with any drugs or money and does not view any hand to hand transactions A search incident to arrest revealed a small amount of heroin. So the defendant was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 felony, carrying a potential penalty of 1-3 years in the penitentiary.
Now anyone with any common sense knows that the defendant is selling drugs. That is not the point. Does the defendant not have a First Amendment to talk to passerby’s on the street? Is yelling “blows” enough to seize a person under the Fourth Amendment?
Not to mention the fact that it was lazy police work. Obviously the defendant is selling drugs. Why stop him when he is yelling out, before he conducts a hand to hand transaction. If the officer instead exercised some patience and watched him commit a few hand to hand transactions, he may have been able to make a delivery of a controlled substance charge stick, which is a class 1 felony carrying a potential sentence of 4-10 years in the penitentiary.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Our law firm is located in Chicago, Illinois, and we are available for consultations. As a highly skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer, Dennis F. Dwyer can advise you on your rights and the defenses available for your particular case. If you want to know if you have been subjected to an unlawful search and seizure, contact our office for a no-obligation, initial consultation.