Aug 4, 2008

For Lee Carter

Detectives secured a search warrant for an apartment. Just before they were going to execute the warrant, they saw the defendant and another person leave the premises. They seized the two men and took them back to the apartment and executed the warrant. The defendant was also searched. The trial judge denied a motion to suppress on the grounds that the defendant was reasonably connected to the premises. On appeal the Court reversed. "A warrant only authorizes a search of persons on the described property if they are reasonably suspected of being involved in the illegal activity which is the subject of the warrant.... A visitor's mere presence on the premises authorized to be searched is insufficient evidence of criminal conduct to justify a search of his person." The officer had no reasonable suspicion in this case. Calhoun v. State, 627 So. 2d 60 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993).

"[A] person's mere presence at a residence during the execution of a search warrant does not justify a search of that person absent the discovery of something which creates reasonable cause to believe that the person is involved in the criminal activity." In this case the defendant pulled into the parking lot while officers were executing a search warrant in the apartment. An officer recognized him as being a resident of the apartment being searched. The defendant was escorted inside. A search of his person revealed cocaine. A motion to suppress was denied. On appeal the court reversed. Stahl v. State, 634 So. 2d 258 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994).

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