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Decisions

Second Department Reverses Suppression Ruling

August 31, 2016

Tyrone Anderson was convicted of second-degree burglary, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and possession of burglar’s tools arising from an incident in which he was arrested on suspicion of burglary and police immediately took from him a messenger bag he was wearing, searched it while he was surrounded by six officers, and recovered inside stolen property and various tools.  The hearing court denied suppression of the bag’s contents, ruling that the search was permissible incident to Mr. Anderson’s lawful arrest.

In a decision dated August 31, 2016, the Appellate Division, Second Department ruled that the People had failed to present any evidence at the suppression hearing that the search incident to arrest was justified by exigent circumstances.  It thus reversed the judgment, granted suppression of the bag’s contents, dismissed Mr. Anderson’s convictions for criminal possession of stolen property and possession of burglar’s tools, and remanded the burglary count for a new trial.  Notably, the Second Department expressed its “disapproval” of various comments by the prosecutor in summation, which amounted to misconduct but were not so egregious, in its view, as to deprive Mr. Anderson of a fair trial.

Erica Horwitz briefed and argued the case in the Second Department.