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East Baton Rouge Parish traffic stop leads to confession, arrest

The Constitution's Fourth Amendment protects Louisiana residents from illegal searches and evidence seizures. Evidence obtained improperly by police, no matter how important to the state's case, can be banned from use at trial. Granting permission to perform a search and making statements before consulting with an attorney can compromise a defendant's case.

A Baker police officer stopped a male driver recently over the failure to use a turn signal. The 21-year-old driver apparently told the officer that marijuana might be found in the vehicle. The car was searched and the drug was found.

The driver was handcuffed and informed he had been under investigation. Several neighbors contacted police to complain a stream of round-the-clock visitors was seen at the defendant's house. Officers then asked to conduct a search of the man's home, which he shared with his mother.

The mother granted permission. Investigators found drug paraphernalia, large plastic bags filled with marijuana and two stolen guns. The defendant confessed he believed the guns might have been stolen when he purchased them and admitted he had been dealing drugs for a few months to pay personal bills.

The mother claimed she had no idea her son was selling marijuana. The woman also accused police of targeting her son, after she had a disagreement with the police chief over an unrelated incident. The chief stated the son was suspected of drug crimes before any issues surfaced with the mother.

The son was booked on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession with intent to distribute, stolen firearms possession and stolen firearms possession with a controlled dangerous substance. The mother's comments about police retaliation were reported after her son was jailed.

Some defendants don't realize how damaging their own behaviors can be. A defendant does not have to consent to searches or make statements. By doing so, the evidence gathered can be used to prosecute and convict you.

Source: The Advocate, "Baker police arrest son of Civic Club president on drug, gun charges" Ryan Broussard, May. 01, 2014

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