Criminal: BIRCH V. COM. (COA; 3/17/2006)

CRIMINAL – Search & Seizure; Exception to Exclusionary Rule
DATE:  3/17/2006

A Lexington police officer initiated a Terry stop of a couple of people who were standing in a breezeway of a housing complex known for drug activity.  One person said that she was there to see Birch.  Moments later, Birch walked out of his nearby residence.  The officer then approached and questioned Birch about who he was and what he was doing.  In the process, the officer verified that Birch had an outstanding arrest warrant.  Consequently, he was placed under arrest.  During a search incident to that arrest, crack cocaine was found in Birch’s hand.  At a subsequent suppression hearing, Birch argued that the officer lacked any reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop.  The trial court basically held that, regardless of the illegality of the stop, the pending arrest warrant was a sufficient intervening event that cured any taint.  Hence, the suppression motion was denied.  CA upheld the denial and noted that such warrants can cure the taint of "non-flagrant" illegal stops like the one in this case.      

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