Does the ''Fellow Officer'' Rule Require the State to Prove That Source of Information Was Reliable and There Was Cause for Arrest ?
In People v. Parris (83 NY2d 342 ), the Court of Appeals clarified that the fellow officer rule requires the People to satisfy their burden of going forward to establish probable cause by proving that the source of the information, in this case, Sergeant Lott, was reliable, which he clearly is, and, further, that Sergeant Lott had a sufficient basis of knowledge to establish that there was probable cause for the arrest.
In Parris, two officers arrived at the scene and were met by a third officer who told them that a neighbor, characterized by the third officer as an eyewitness, had given him a detailed description of the perpetrator. the first two officers canvassed the area and arrested the defendant, who fit the description.
The Court of Appeals held that the People had failed to establish a sufficient basis of knowledge to provide probable cause.
Despite the third officer's characterization of the neighbor as an eyewitness, there was no explanation as to how the neighbor knew the defendant had committed the crime.
At the suppression hearing there was absolutely no evidence presented to demonstrate Sergeant Lott's basis of knowledge that the defendant was wanted on a past assault.
To overcome this deficiency, the People claim that the defendant waived this requirement by failing to specifically challenge the reliability of the information possessed by Sergeant Lott.