Discovering a Gun After An Illegal Police Car Stop In New York

In People v. Martinez, 37 N.Y.2d 662, 376 N.Y.S.2d 469, 339 N.E.2d 162 the Court of Appeals held that the stop of the defendant was improper but upon discovery of a gun on the rear floor of the automobile in which the defendant was a passenger, there existed reasonable cause for the arrest of the defendant. The court held that the taint of the illegal stop was not sufficiently attenuated to preclude suppression of the gun. The issue was whether the defendant's subsequent confession to a homicide was a "verbal fruit" of the initial illegal stop. The court held that the fact that the detectives investigating the homicide had independent evidence linking Martinez to the homicide, prior to his detention, served to break the causal chain between the unlawful stop and the station house interrogation resulting in the homicide confession.