After what I thought was a great morning in court for my haymaking client last month I (told her I thought there was a solid defense, I got her back to work quickly, I was funny) I got a letter from her the next day saying she wanted the court to fire me and appoint another attorney.

Couldn't figure out what I had done wrong (nothing, it turns out) but refused to let the case go since I knew I could get it dismissed.

So after a couple of days working on the prosecutor I convinced her we had a reasonable suppression issue and she dismissed. Client was happy with me after all.

The suppression issue revolved around the scope of an officer's authority to search a vehicle in which a probationer (not my client) was riding. Car got pulled over for a loud exhaust, passenger in the back seat was on probation, officer searched the entire car (front and back seats) and the bags of all passengers including the purse of my client, who was riding in the front seat. That exceeded the scope of his authority to search the probationer. So the contents of my client's purse were suppressible and the State dropped the case.

Take home message: don't consent to any searches, don't have a loud exhaust on your car if you would rather the police didn't notice you.

AuthorJonathan Handelman