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