Once upon a time there was a story of a New York bounty hunter and the arrest of an individual that resulted in the confiscation of more than 600 bags of heroin. But this fairy tale doesn’t result in a happy ending for the bounty hunter, the local police department, or the prosecutor. In fact, due to a technicality, the state was actually forced to drop the charges against the accused.
Deputy State Attorney Kerwin A. Miller dropped all charges against the individual, just minutes after a judge ruled on a defense motion that prevented prosecutors from presenting the heroin as evidence at trial over a legal technicality.
The defendant, who had no less than four criminal charges, including possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime, no doubt considered himself to be one lucky fellow after his assistant public defender made a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence, stating that it has been improperly seized—and the judge granted it.
How It Went so Wrong
Here’s how it all went down: A New York bounty hunter entered the man’s home because he was tracking down a different individual who had disappeared on bail. The individual being pursued by the bounty hunter wasn’t at the home, but the defendant was, according to police reports.
At that point in time—and when things went wrong—the bounty hunter asked the defendant to surrender any drugs inside the residence, as he knew the defendant was a known heroin dealer and was a person of interest in another investigation by local police.
The judge ruled that a bounty hunter cannot abandon his primary reason for entering a residence and focus on an unrelated investigation. Because the heroin was not in plain view inside the defendant’s home, the defender claimed the bounty hunter motivated the defendant to reveal his heroin through “improper inducement.”
More specifically, it appeared that the bounty hunter went as far as to tell the defendant that he didn’t want to pursue a criminal case against him. Instead, he beckoned local police investigators to the defendant’s residence to arrest him and confiscate the drugs.
The public defender argued that the property was unconstitutionally confiscated and therefore could not be presented at trial.
Perhaps the only silver lining is that the defendant is already facing six drug charges on unrelated cases.