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Lucky Bad Guys of the Day: Ali Abdul-Akim and Marcus Ayala

Gun If you find yourself riding with a couple of your buddies around the Brooklyn neighborhood where your brother was recently murdered, wearing a bulletproof vest, with a loaded handgun in the glove compartment, well, I'm comfortable calling you a "bad guy."

This was exactly the situation in which Ali Abdul-Akim found himself last June. The cops pulled over the car in which he was a passenger, yadda yadda yadda, discovered the gun, and he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful wearing of a body vest. But a New York trial court issued an opinion (.pdf) last week making clear that those yaddas matter.

The court suppressed the gun and the vest, holding that there was no probable cause to arrest the driver, Ayala, based either on the fact that he was allegedly texting while driving, or on the arresting officer's "mistake" in concluding that he had only a learner's permit, rather than a full-blown driver's license.

Police had been warned at their roll call that morning that Abdul-Akim might be out on the streets seeking revenge for his brother's murder. And, based on the facts in the opinion, it sure sounds like that's what was afoot. But we all learned as 1Ls about the fruit of the poisonous tree. As the judge, Justice Mark Dwyer of the New York Supreme Court, wrote: "crime prevention may not be effected at the expense of disregarding the constitutional requirement that citizens be free of unreasonable searches and seizures."

So, Ali and Marcus, count your blessings, as I'd suspect the charges will have to be dropped without a weapon or a vest. Maybe today would be a good day to buy a lottery ticket. MegaMillions is worth $31 million tonight ...

Posted by Eric Lipman on May 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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