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People v. Evans (1991) – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In People v. Evans, 175 A.D.2d 456, 572 N.Y.S.2d 508 (3rd Dept. 1991), the Court affirmed the conviction of the defendant after his vehicle was observed parked in deserted "overlook area" of the Taconic State Parkway in the Town of Gallatin, Columbia County.

The troopers noticed that there were two individuals in the vehicle, that the vehicle did not have a front license plate affixed to it, that there were no stickers on the windshield, and that the vehicle's rear window had been broken out.

The troopers approached the parked vehicle and determined that the defendant was in possession of drugs. The defendant was arrested and later pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The defendant appealed his conviction contending that the troopers had to have had a "reasonable suspicion" that criminal activity was or was about to be committed in order to justify their approach to his vehicle.

The Court rejected this contention reasoning that since the defendant's vehicle was parked, the troopers only needed to have an objective, credible reason, irrespective of whether they had any indication of criminal activity, to approach the defendant to ask for information and, upon doing so, then they acquired probable cause to arrest the defendant after observing drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. (Id. at 457-458.)