Six Little-Known Facts About Motions to Suppress Evidence
Why This Article Matters: Motions to Suppress Evidence are often misunderstood. It is helpful for one to appreciate certain nuances of this common motion to better present it and anticipate how a judge or DA will oppose it.
2. The distinction that must be drawn from point # 1 above is that observations of an officer, statements, testimony or evidence (i.e. fingerprints) that are obtained after an unlawful detention, arrest or search are subject to suppression under Penal Code § 1538.5; People v. Massey (1976) 59 Cal.App.3d 777, 130 Cal.Rptr. 581; U.S. v. Garcia-Beltran (9th Cir. 2004) 389 F.3d 864, 866 (fingerprints). The key on this point is that tangible evidence must first be ordered excluded.
3. Evidence that had been previously suppressed can be used later in a parole revocation hearing (Pennsylvania Bd. of Probation & Parole v. Scott (1998) 524 U.S. 357, 141 L.Ed. 2d 344, 118 S. Ct. 2014), but the same evidence cannot be used to revoke probation. People v. Zimmerman (1979) 100 Cal.App.3d 673, 161 Cal.Rptr. 188.
4. Illegally seized evidence that was ordered suppressed by a judge can be used to impeach defendant (People v. Moore (1988) 201 Cal.App.3d 877, 247 Cal.Rptr. 353), but the same evidence cannot be used to impeach a defense witness. James v. Illinois (1990) 493 U.S. 307, 107 L.Ed. 2d 676, 110 S.Ct. 648.
5. Evidence that was ordered suppressed in a motion to suppress may be considered by a judge at time of sentencing. People v. Brewster (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 921, 229 Cal.Rptr. 352. This is a quite common and has led to our clients feeling as if their rights have been violated, but it is the law.
6. Evidence previously suppressed may be used by the prosecution in a new and different case (People v. Coe (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 526, 279 Cal.Rptr. 362) and can even be used against the same defendant if the case is dismissed against the defendant and refiled. Penal Code § 1538.5(j). The same motion to suppress may need to be filed in the refiled case, in other words. Also, a ruling in federal court suppressing evidence is not binding on a state court dealing with the same evidence. People v. Meredith (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 1548, 15 Cal.Rptr.2d 285.
For more information about motions to suppress evidence, please click on the following articles: