Notable Decisions and Other News

Decisions

Divided Panel Orders a New Trial in Second-Degree Burglary Case

9/24/2014

Mr. Delvillatron was parked legally with the engine turned off, when two people fleeing the scene of a burglary a full avenue away got in his car. An officer banged on the driver’s side window, pulled Mr. Delvillatron out of the car, and arrested him. He later gave a statement that was admitted against him at trial and he was convicted of burglary in the second-degree and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

The Appellate Division dismissed both counts. With respect to the third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, the court found that there was insufficient evidence that Mr. Delvillatron himself ever possessed any stolen property or that he acted together with the other people who jumped into his car. 

The court also concluded that the police had no probable cause to arrest Mr. Delvillatron and that the statement he made after that illegal arrest had to be suppressed. The Appellate Division reasoned that the police had reasonable suspicion to detain him, but not probable cause to arrest him because “it was just as likely that” Mr. Delillatron “was not complicit” in the “criminal activity as that he was a getaway driver.” 

Judges Balkin, Austin, and Barros concurred in judgment. Judge LaSalle concurred in part and dissented in part.

The case was briefed by Casey Rose Denson and argued by Leila Hull.