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Decisions

Conviction Reversed Because of Improper Police Search at Hospital

04/30/2015

Appellant Clifton Salvodon was arrested after arriving at a Queens hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound to his abdomen.  Without his consent, police officers searched his phone and discovered information that led them to believe he had provided the hospital with a fake name.  They subsequently searched the property the hospital had collected from him upon admission, finding a ring that was later identified as the proceeds of a burglary.

The trial court denied Mr. Salvodon’s motion to suppress this evidence, holding that the police did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights because his property was removed by hospital personnel and because the police, believing he was only a victim, searched his cell phone in order to locate his family members' contact information. Mr. Salvodon was convicted of first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and lesser charges, and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.

On April 29, 2015, the Appellate Division, Second Department, held that appellant's motion to suppress should have been granted because Mr. Salvodon’s status as a victim did not deprive him of his Fourth Amendment rights, and he therefore had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the property he brought to the hospital.  The court reversed the defendant’s conviction and ordered a new trial.  

Jenin Younes briefed and argued the case for Appellate Advocates.