Criminal Charge: Possession of drugs with intent to distribute
Case: State v. Rita Horn [CF-02-1485]
Court: Tulsa County
Result: Case Dismissed
Ms. Horn was charged with possession of CDS w/intent to distribute after former conviction of a felony, a crime which subjected her to significant jail time. Three Tulsa Police Department officers – based entirely on an alleged uncorroborated tip of an informant – sought her out in a hotel room after midnight. Her companion demanded the police exit the room. They returned and forced their way back in the room, contending they had seven outstanding warrants for her arrest.
Once inside the room, they based a warrantless search of her purse and the subsequent seizure of drugs allegedly found in the purse on the “search incident to arrest” exception recognized in United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218. At the preliminary hearing, Haslam urged a motion to suppress the search and exclude the drugs allegedly found and elicited testimony from TPD Detective Bishop that her search was based exclusively on the Robinson exception. Of course, Detective Bishop failed to testify that the warrants were misdemeanor traffic warrants…. The preliminary hearing magistrate denied the motion to suppress.
Finding Det. Bishop’s testimony regarding the time of her arrest just a little too delicate, Haslam unearthed the warrants and reurged the motion to suppress to the trial judge. Arguing state law that forbids execution of misdemeanor warrants on private property after 10:00 P.M., Haslam obtained suppression of the fruits of this unlawful search and dismissal of the case.