New York Pretrial Suppression Motions are requests made to the court in order to stop illegally obtained evidence from being used at trials to protect the defendant’s constitutional rights. These motions are submitted to the court before the start of trials and if granted, will prevent the prosecution from using the illegally obtained evidence at trial.
These rules are meant to deter law enforcement officers from violating citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights that protect the individual against unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus, evidence that has been illegally obtained is not admissible at a defendant’s trial.
Examples Of Suppressible Evidence
1. Eyewitness Testimony: For example, a witness identifying the defendant as the perpetrator of a crime after police officers instruct the witness that the defendant is the perpetrator.
2. Tangible Evidence: For example, drugs located after the police illegally detained the defendant.
3. Statements Made by the Defendant: For example, a confession that the police illegally coerced.
Suppression Motions And Hearings
Motions to suppress evidence generally begin with pleadings that proceed to hearings where a judge decides whether to grant the motion based on both sides evidence and oral arguments. There are generally several motions that argue that the police did not use proper procedures while obtaining the evidence. These are called suppression motions and the hearings to decide whether these motions should be granted are called suppression hearings. The following are commonly used suppression hearings.
1. Mapp Hearing: Are a way to suppress the use of physical evidence on the grounds that the police seized the evidence during an illegal search.
2. Huntley Hearing: Are used to suppress defendant’s illegally obtained statements. Defense lawyers can argue that the statements were made against the defendant’s will because of physical abuse, tricks, pressure, or threats. The statement may have also been illegally obtained because the statement was the result of an illegal arrest or that the defendant was not advised of their right to remain silent or their right to an attorney
3. Wade Hearing: Are used to suppress evidence of police arranged identification of the defendant. For example a police photo line up or traditional lineup was conducted in an illegal or suggestive manner.
4. Dunaway Hearing: Are used to suppress evidence from an illegal arrest and is always held in combination with the above Mapp, Huntley, and Wade hearings.
It is important to remember that credible pretrial motions and subsequent hearings must be made before the trial. If the motions are not brought the defendant waives the opportunity to suppress the illegally obtained evidence. Therefore, it is very important to find a dedicated criminal attorney who understands the prosecutorial system in order to defend a defendant’s constitutional rights.