Townes v. City of New York

176 F.3d 138 (1999)

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Townes v. City of New York

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
176 F.3d 138 (1999)

  • Written by Whitney Kamerzel , JD

Facts

Victor Townes (plaintiff) was in a taxi with friends who had guns inside the car. Officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD) stopped the taxi and ordered Townes outside of the vehicle. The officers frisked Townes and did not find anything illegal. The officers searched the vehicle anyway and found two guns. After Townes was brought into custody and searched again, the officers found cocaine in Townes’s possession. Townes was therefore arrested for possession of weapons and drugs. Townes filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing the search and seizure was unlawful because the officers did not have probable cause to originally stop the taxi, but the state trial court, within its discretion, denied this motion. Townes was imprisoned for two years before the appellate court reversed Townes’s conviction on the ground that the police unlawfully searched the taxicab, which under the fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree doctrine nullified the illegal evidence seized from Townes. Townes sued the city of New York (defendant) in federal district court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The district court dismissed Townes’s complaint, and Townes appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jacobs, J.)

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