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Judge's ruling may imperil weapons charges in Baltimore arrest

This country is known for protecting the rights of its people. One of those rights is protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. One judge recently ruled that a Baltimore arrest was unlawful, putting the case involving weapons charges in jeopardy.

Police reports indicate that they observed a man approach a parked van in an area they say was known for drug activity. After speaking to someone inside, the man entered the van. A second man soon entered the van as well. Based on what a prosecutor has described as the policemen's alleged knowledge of the area and drug activity, the officers approached the van.

The first man allegedly exited the vehicle and denied that any drug activity was underway. He consented to a search, at which time officers claim they found a gun in his waistband. He was subsequently charged with being in possession of a firearm as a felon. However, a federal judge has recently ruled that the fact that the man was talking to someone in a suspicious area of town does not constitute reasonable suspicion.

According to the ruling, had the van been parked illegally or had a broken tail light, for example, the stop may have been legal. As it is, the evidence obtained as a result of the search cannot be used against him. This applies even though the man consented to the search.

While many people know they have basic rights, most do not fully understand the protections the Constitution and Bill of Rights provide for those suspected of committing a crime. For people who face weapons charges, or other criminal charges, it is typically important to have an experienced attorney in Baltimore who can recognize a potential violation of a person's rights. In all criminal cases, those accused of a crime must be treated fairly in order to prevent a wrongful conviction.

Source: citypaper.com, "Judge: "reasonable suspicion" of crime doesn't arise simply from being parked in a bad neighborhood, talking to someone", Van Smith, Dec. 17, 2014

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