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  1. #1

    Default Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Virginia.

    Hello.

    I am going to present what happened to me, and see what you all think I should do.

    Well a couple months before I moved to a different side of town. And quit talking to be people on that side of town, because it was constant trouble. Drugs, people lying, and I did not wish to be involved. I never got into trouble with the police because I didn't ever do anything, I always knew when to walk away.

    Well 2.5-3 months later. I found out that a friend and myself were being investigated about stealing a 24ft landscaping trailer. I did not steal said trailer, I own a VW passat, and friend owns a civic... No way we could have stolen said trailer. Can't tow a trailer like that with a car... I don't like cops to begin with. I tried calling the investigator after he went to my sisters place of resident and left a business card. I called atleast 40 times in a 2 day period, and no answer. I don't leave voicemails, as I would rather talk in person.

    Well a good two weeks later, my girlfriend calls me saying they are at her work bothering her. This was around 12:30-1:00. I went to her work pissed, I got there and there was no cops to be found. On my way home I got a call from my mother stating that there were cops looking around on the back of the property. I asked her if they had a search warrant, and she said no. I then told her to tell them to get the hell off the property. They at that point did a bit of arguing with my mom and said saying they don't have to leave.

    I finally got back, they were parked at the very top of my driveway. I had to park in the road some to pack as they were in my driveway. I approached them as they were walking back towards their cars, I asked them if they had a search warrant and they said " This is a lawful investigation, I do not need one". And I still told them to get off the property, we went and talked in the street. Its amazing how many lies cops tell.

    They left and went back towards my girlfriends work to question her. They said we used her tags to do this. Her tags haven't been off since they were put on after getting them from DMV. Talking abotu her ex boyfriend, and people we haven't seen in years. So they were fishing, very hard. They had no probable cause to enter my property.

    So after they left I was talking to my mom and dad. And they said they knocked on the front door with no answer. My 6 year old nephew was in the living room watching tv, you can clearly see the tv on from the front door. There is also a door bell which works 100%. My nephew gets excited when someone is at the door he thinks it his aunt who takes him out to play... etc. Plus there was 3 people in the back side of the house right near the door bell. Cops said they saw the garage light on and figured that someone was back there. Which you cant see without walking beside the house. At this point in time there are 3 vehicles on the property taged and registered. Clearly visible that someone is home. So they walked around back, said there were 2 trailers a few feet from the garage.. About 20 feet. Note these trailers are nothing like the trailer that was reported stolen. That one was an enclosed trailer, white huge trailer. These were two open 8x10, and 8x16 trailers. So they decided they would walk over to the trailers and write down the vin numbers. This is when they were approached by my parents asking about a search warrant. And them saying we do not need one.

    Now I will admit I did do wrong, one of the trailers was stolen. It was left on the side of the road near my house for 2 days. I did approach the trailer to see what was on it, it was full of tools. Not a persons tool though... Department of Education.. I left, the next day it was still there. And I decided to take it. 8x10 trailer. I am a mechanic at heart, would rather work on something then go to a bar, or amusement park. My fun and career is using my hands. I have been trying for years to get a job, tried school. Nothing was working, I saw a way for me to get ahead and I tried. I learned more in the three months that I had these tools then my whole life. So there I admit I did not do what was right. But I did take possession of them. But come to find out these were stolen from a building... which I am going to be tried for. I took the tools from the side of the road, not a building.

    SO I'm not innocent by no means. I was willing to deal with what I had done and serve whatever time I needed to do it. This would be my first ever charge. That is until I started looking up my rights.

    4th Amendment.

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
    effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
    no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
    affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons
    or things to be seized."

    Virginia State law:

    19.2-59. Search without warrant prohibited; when search without warrant lawful.

    No officer of the law or any other person shall search any place, thing or person, except by virtue of and under a warrant issued by a proper officer. Any officer or other person searching any place, thing or person otherwise than by virtue of and under a search warrant, shall be guilty of malfeasance in office. Any officer or person violating the provisions of this section shall be liable to any person aggrieved thereby in both compensatory and punitive damages. Any officer found guilty of a second offense under this section shall, upon conviction thereof, immediately forfeit his office, and such finding shall be deemed to create a vacancy in such office to be filled according to law.

    Provided, however, that any officer empowered to enforce the game laws or marine fisheries laws as set forth in Title 28.2 may without a search warrant enter for the purpose of enforcing such laws, any freight yard or room, passenger depot, baggage room or warehouse, storage room or warehouse, train, baggage car, passenger car, express car, Pullman car or freight car of any common carrier, or any boat, automobile or other vehicle; but nothing in this proviso contained shall be construed to permit a search of any occupied berth or compartment on any passenger car or boat or any baggage, bag, trunk, box or other closed container without a search warrant.



    I feel my rights were violated. They came onto my property with clear posted no trespassing signs. Walked to the back of my property, searching behind my garage and illegally seizing the vin number to two trailers. Thus giving them probable cause to get a search warrant, then to find items that incriminate me.

    Another thing is the fruit of the poisonis tree doctrine. One can not gain one thing illegally and use said to find something else illegal. The tree being the trailer, and the apple being the tools.

    And I do have a reasonable expectation of privacy behind my garage. During the day night, or whenever if I have to take a leak I walk behind my garage to do so. For the most part I am greasy, And I do not feel like cleaning up greasy walls and light switches inside.

    Search warrant said they could search the house, garages, cars, and CURTILEDGE thereof. Spelled wrong on the warrant I believe. but the curtiliage is the area surrounding, and house and out buildings. Which requires a certain expectation of privacy.

    Attached is a aerial picture of my property. The red circle is where the trailers were. The orange is my front door, and the red rectangles are where the officers parked.

    So what do you all think I should do?






  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    if you believe the search was illegal, you or your attorney can move to have the evidence discovered by the search excluded. The court will rule on the validity of the search and determine if the evidence is admissible or not.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    You should get an attorney. And stop stealing. Not necessarily in that order. If you think there are "fruit of the poisonous tree" issues, those make powerful suppression of evidence arguements and I'd expect your attorney to attempt to capitalize on any such possibilities right off the bat.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    You should get an attorney. And stop stealing. Not necessarily in that order. If you think there are "fruit of the poisonous tree" issues, those make powerful suppression of evidence arguements and I'd expect your attorney to attempt to capitalize on any such possibilities right off the bat.
    Yea I know what I did was wrong. I looked at paper work from the items. They sat in some warehouse for like 6 years of no use.

    I have a court appointed, and it seems he just wishes to make me come to some plea.

    I think I can get him to do as I wish. But I also wish to sue, as my rights were violated. And this county has done is numerous time, and I believe its time for them to learn their place.

    But I would need a lawyer that would work with a contingency fee.

    And can someone explain exactly how a "Doctrine" applys to the law, is it a law or what?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    this entire situation sounds very suspect and contrived.

    Well 2.5-3 months later. I found out that a friend and myself were being investigated about stealing a 24ft landscaping trailer. I did not steal said trailer, I own a VW passat, and friend owns a civic... No way we could have stolen said trailer. Can't tow a trailer like that with a car...
    why could you have not stolen the trailer because of what you drive?

    the towing capacity of a Passat is around a ton and a half. A civic is around 3/4 ton. That is merely a stated limit. Unless you know how much the trailer weighs, there is no way you can state your vehicle could not tow it. Beyond that, I know that the old Toyota truck (back when they were real tiny trucks with sewing machines in place of the engine) I used to drive had a towing capacity of around a half ton but that didn't stop me from towing 2 tons with it. Worked the daylights out of it but it did it. Depending what was in the trailer, it is quite possible either vehicle would have moved the trailer. Beyond that, what does the girlfriend drive? Also, I know that when I needed a truck, I borrowed one from a friend. Claiming what you and the accused conspirator drive is proof you did not steal the trailer is no proof you didn't steal the trailer.

    Of course, the fact you were even included in the investigation means that somebody connected you and the theft, somehow. Your claim of the plates never being removed from your gf's car is also meaningless. It is not provable anymore than the cops claim it did happen and if somebody saw the gf's plate on some vehicle other than the one it is legally registered to, well, that kind of gives credence to the cops claim.

    On my way home I got a call from my mother stating that there were cops looking around on the back of the property. I asked her if they had a search warrant, and she said no. I then told her to tell them to get the hell off the property. They at that point did a bit of arguing with my mom and said saying they don't have to leave.
    so, your mother, who I presume is an owner of the home, knew the cops were on the property searching and said nothing to them? Your father, who was also at home said nothing? It seems odd that the owners of the property simply looked out the window and saw cops wandering around their property and your mother, for some reason, calls you to tell you they are there.


    just why would your mother call you if they had not made contact with her and told her why they wanted to search the property? If she simply discovered them out there looking around, the reasonable thing would be to ask them what they were doing or ask one of the 3 people that were standing around by the doorbell to initiate contact with them and find out what is going on yet she calls you. Things that make you go hhmmmm.



    It's strange that they would show up at your house without any reason to connect you to the crime. It is also odd that your mother called you when the cops showed up to search HER property when she and your father were both at home. Why would they not simply approach the cops on their property and ask why they are there?



    Well a good two weeks later, my girlfriend calls me saying they are at her work bothering her. This was around 12:30-1:00. I went to her work pissed, I got there and there was no cops to be found.
    did you expect them to wait for you? They were questioning your gf, not you and why would you be pissed, so pissed that you would leave whatever you were doing and go to her place of work to interfere with their investigation? They do have a right to ask people questions.

    They had no probable cause to enter my property.
    I guess that is something you can find out when you are charged with the crime of stealing the dept of education trailer.

    tylerdustin2008;544770]Yea I know what I did was wrong. I looked at paper work from the items. They sat in some warehouse for like 6 years of no use.
    why do you continue to try to justify your theft. First is was that you learned from using the tools. Now its that they sat in a warehouse for years without use. None of that makes any difference. The only thing that matters is: they were not yours. You knew they were not yours. You took them.

    I have a court appointed, and it seems he just wishes to make me come to some plea.
    You have every right to refuse to accept a plea. Since you already have a lawyer, it seems odd he has not considered the possibility of an illegal search. I suspect he may know something you don't which is the search was legal.

    I think I can get him to do as I wish.
    But I also wish to sue, as my rights were violated
    . NO, your rights were not violated, even if the search was illegal. It is the owner of the property who would have a claim, if there was one. On top of that, you have no idea by what right they searched the property. I suggest you worry about the criminal charges before you go looking to sue anybody.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    First off. I know we couldn't have towed them because we don't have hitches on our cars. The dry weight of the trailer is 5000lbs. The only person I know in the area with a truck that could tow it, would not let you borrow.

    And my gf's plates got brought up because a month before the very same guy told my friend that i squealed like a pig. I don't see this being possible as I had never talked to this officer. The point is the cops were fishing, they had no probable cause to even be on the property. They told the friend that we were on camera with the trailer. If so, thats enough for an arrest. But its not because we were not on camera because we didn't do it. Cops are scum bags, they lie, lie and lie. There are lies on the sworn affidavit for the search warrant. They believe the are the right hand of God and justice is served by them, any way shape or form they see fit.

    As soon as my parents saw that they were outside they approached them. Asked for a warrant none was provided, they said they didnt need one. My dad started being hatefule towards them, my mom stepped away and then called me.

    Im sorry guy. I was asking for opinions on what should I do. No to use what I said so that you can make me look worse.

    I know who gave them my name. He doesn't like me, hes been to jail for sexual assualt of a minor. I called him out on that, and he hates me for it. He knew nothing, he was just trying to get me in trouble. I did not steal what they came looking for in the first place, they got lucky on something else.

    The property is rented, my name is on the lease thus it is my rights as well as my parents rights that were violated. So YES my rights were violated.

    Yes I did something wrong. But two wrongs dont make a right. The police can not do a wrong to get an arrest. They are sworn to uphold the law of the United States, and the County in which they reside. Virginia code that I listed above is in violation of my rights and his oath.

    We are not in the 1700's anymore, we dont settle problems but going out and having a duel. We go by the LAW, I did not. I was willing to accept my punishment. But what the officer did was twice as wrong as what I did.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    tylerdustin2008;544777]First off. I know we couldn't have towed them because we don't have hitches on our cars. The dry weight of the trailer is 5000lbs. The only person I know in the area with a truck that could tow it, would not let you borrow.
    You seem to know an awful lot about the trailer for not ever having it in your possession.

    .
    They told the friend that we were on camera with the trailer. If so, thats enough for an arrest.
    in itself, no, it isn't. All it proves is you were by the trailer at some time. It does not prove you took it.

    There are lies on the sworn affidavit for the search warrant.
    then you argue that in court. Since your attorney is not, apparently, viewing this as a possibility, I suggest you are reading more into what is actually on the affidavit.






    The property is rented, my name is on the lease thus it is my rights as well as my parents rights that were violated. So YES my rights were violated.
    when you can show they did not have a right to be on the property, then you can take action. Don't expect a lawyer to take this on contingency though. The return isn't worth it. 30% of one dollar doesn't even buy a cup of coffee anymore.

    Yes I did something wrong. But two wrongs dont make a right. The police can not do a wrong to get an arrest. They are sworn to uphold the law of the United States, and the County in which they reside. Virginia code that I listed above is in violation of my rights and his oath
    .
    .
    I was willing to accept my punishment. But what the officer did was twice as wrong as what I did
    If you are willing to accept your punishment, then what is your problem? You admit to stealing the dept of education trailer so either accept your punishment or quit arguing something the cops did was wrong and that is the only reason you got caught. It is hypocritical to claim you are willing to accept the punishment for the theft and then turn around and argue you wouldn't have been caught if the cops did not enter the property illegally, which you still cannot prove. While you claim they were on the property illegally, if that was so, it would be an easy win for you to have the evidence tossed. Since that is not happening, it suggests the search was legal.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    It is also not usually very easy to sue someone when said civil trial will also bring out the fact that stolen property was in your possession. That makes you look ... well, like a thief. And thieves don't look so good to juries. It could also open you up to a civil suit by the owners of the property that you had ripped off. In your civil suit against the cops, it will almost certainly come out that you did knowingly have these items on your property ... this may not be the best idea.

    But, you can consult an attorney experienced in such matters and, assuming the evidence is suppressed because a court agrees that the search was unlawful, you can make a claim against the police if your attorney feels there is a good case. Though, as mentioned, if there is not the likelihood of an award that will make the suit worth the attorney's time, he might well ask for all of his payment up front.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  9. #9

    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    It is also not usually very easy to sue someone when said civil trial will also bring out the fact that stolen property was in your possession. That makes you look ... well, like a thief. And thieves don't look so good to juries. It could also open you up to a civil suit by the owners of the property that you had ripped off. In your civil suit against the cops, it will almost certainly come out that you did knowingly have these items on your property ... this may not be the best idea.

    But, you can consult an attorney experienced in such matters and, assuming the evidence is suppressed because a court agrees that the search was unlawful, you can make a claim against the police if your attorney feels there is a good case. Though, as mentioned, if there is not the likelihood of an award that will make the suit worth the attorney's time, he might well ask for all of his payment up front.
    Yes I know this. I look bad. But I did what I did to learn and no other reason, if it was an indivduals items I would have not taken them.

    But even though I may look bad. The Police should suffer the consequences for not following the law.

    Now how might I find an attorney that would be willing to work with a contingency fee?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Illegal Search and Seizure. What to Do, and Where to Find a Good Lawyer

    I just have some questions.

    Did the trailer have a Dept. of Education logo on it and/or special state plates? Could either of these things be seen from the driveway? With binoculars?

    How about from another street and or another house?

    Could any of the other people in the picture have seen this trailer parked in your yard for several months?

    What is your estimation of the weight of the Dept. of Education trailer? How did THAT trailer get to your home?

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