Stop-and-frisk casualty: N.Y. judges toss gun conviction, citing no cause to search

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The recent overturning of New York City’s stop-and-frisk police power has already seen its first casualty, as the state’s Appellate Division on Tuesday tossed a conviction on the grounds that authorities didn’t actually have proper cause to search the suspect.

The case involved a man named Jeffrey Johnson, who was convicted of a gun-related offense, The New York Post reported. Mr. Johnson had been stopped and questioned by police while he was walking through the lobby of a public housing building that was known as a high-drug area. The suspicions police cited as cause to question him: He had “jerked back” when he saw the officers, The Post reported.

On Tuesday, the court panel found with a 3-2 decision that an individual’s “desire to avoid contact with police” isn’t cause for questioning or searching. Moreover, the simple “presence in a high-crime or drug-prone location, without more [evidence], does not furnish an objective credible reason for the police to approach an individual and request information,” the judges wrote, The Post reported.

The two on the panel that dissented wrote that the “defendant’s abrupt, halting and furtive movements provided the police with an objective credible reason. And subsequent events led to a lawful stop-and-frisk. … [Police] reasonably suspected that they were in danger of physical injury.”

Police, during their search, found Mr. Johnson with a loaded gun. He was convicted in 2010 on charges related to unlawful carry.

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