People v. Ibarguen, 56

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Citation37 N.Y.3d 1107,178 N.E.3d 917,157 N.Y.S.3d 252
Docket Number56
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Eric IBARGUEN, Appellant.
Decision Date14 October 2021

37 N.Y.3d 1107
178 N.E.3d 917
157 N.Y.S.3d 252

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,
v.
Eric IBARGUEN, Appellant.

No. 56

Court of Appeals of New York.

Decided October 14, 2021


Patricia Pazner, Appellate Advocates, New York City (Benjamin Welikson of counsel), for appellant.

Melinda Katz, District Attorney, Kew Gardens (John M. Castellano and Joseph N. Ferdenzi of counsel), for respondent.

New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York City (Daniel R. Lambright, Christopher T. Dunn and Molly K. Biklen of counsel), for New York Civil Liberties Union, amicus curiae.

OPINION OF THE COURT

MEMORANDUM.

37 N.Y.3d 1108

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.

CPL 710.60(1) requires that a motion for suppression of physical evidence must state the ground or grounds of the motion and must contain sworn allegations of fact. CPL 710.60 (3) permits summary denial of a suppression motion where the motion papers do not provide adequate sworn allegations of fact (see People v. Mendoza, 82 N.Y.2d 415, 422, 604 N.Y.S.2d 922, 624 N.E.2d 1017 [1993] ). The suppression court did not abuse its discretion in denying, without an evidentiary hearing, that branch of defendant's motion which was to suppress the physical evidence recovered upon the search of the apartment pursuant to a search warrant that had been executed after his arrest, because the

157 N.Y.S.3d 253
178 N.E.3d 918

allegations in the motion papers were insufficient to warrant a hearing.

Contrary to the dissent's assertion, LaFontaine and its progeny do not forbid an affirmance here ( People v. LaFontaine, 92 N.Y.2d 470, 682 N.Y.S.2d 671, 705 N.E.2d 663 [1998] ; People v. Nicholson, 26 N.Y.3d 813, 28 N.Y.S.3d 663, 48 N.E.3d 944 [2016] ). In

37 N.Y.3d 1109

denying defendant's motion, the suppression court stated that "defendant has failed to sufficiently allege standing to challenge the search of the subject premises," which is the gravamen of our holding today.1 Defendant's remaining arguments addressed by the dissent, including the assertion that dinner guests have an expectation of privacy in the home of their hosts, are academic.

WILSON, J. (dissenting).

‘‘Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace‘‘Salutes you all. This night he dedicates‘‘To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,‘‘In all this noble bevy has brought with herOne care abroad. He would have all as merry‘‘As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome‘‘Can make good people. (William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act I, sc. 4).

Though our homes are not so grand as Hampton Court Palace, they are our sanctuaries. Most of us can readily imagine inviting friends to dine in our home, where we sit, in private, to enjoy their company and confidences. It is much harder to imagine the police bursting in without a warrant in the midst of your dinner, ransacking your home for evidence that might incriminate one of your guests, removing you and your guests from your home, securing it overnight, and, based on what they observed, obtaining a search warrant, which they subsequently use to seize evidence from your home. Even if the police have good reason to suspect one of your dinner guests – but not you – of criminal behavior, is this police behavior our society – our Constitution – should condone? More to the point in this appeal, if your dinner guest testifies under oath that the above happened, should that guest be entitled to an evidentiary hearing before a court decides that, although you would have been able to challenge the lawfulness of the search and seizure, your guest has no right to a hearing because it wasn't your guest's home?

37 N.Y.3d 1110

Mr. Ibarguen swore, under oath, that this happened to him, with his additional testimony that he was innocent of all wrongdoing and the police had the wrong man. Certain inconsistent statements by the police tend to support his claim of innocence, though others contradict it. Instead of holding a hearing to determine what expectation of privacy he had when the police burst in and whether the evidence must be suppressed, the suppression court denied his motion on the ground that he had no right of privacy in any part of his friend's apartment while he was an invited dinner guest or, alternatively, because the police later acquired a warrant based on evidence they observed upon their warrantless entry. Because the Fourth Amendment protects individuals against such intrusions and our statutes

157 N.Y.S.3d 254
178 N.E.3d 919

entitle all of us to a hearing under like circumstances, I dissent.

I.

On March 4, 2015, around 7:00 P.M., an undercover detective and Detective Joseph Fernandez conducted a "buy and bust" operation to purchase heroin from a person self-identified as "Spanky." Spanky and the undercover detective spoke by phone to set up the deal and a place to meet a few minutes later. When the undercover detective arrived at the designated location, he observed Spanky talking on a cellular phone. Meanwhile, Detective Fernandez sat in a nearby unmarked car while he observed Spanky and the undercover detective talk. His visibility was limited – it was dark, raining and Detective Fernandez could not see Spanky's face. All he could say was that Spanky was wearing an oversized black jacket. The undercover detective testified that during the conversation Spanky sold him four small wax paper bags ("glassines") of heroin for two traceable, or pre-recorded, $20 bills. Detective Fernandez, seeing the undercover detective's signal that the buy was complete, exited his car with his badge visible to arrest Spanky, who ran.

Detective Fernandez chased the fleeing person, at a distance of 15 to 20 feet, to a short staircase leading to the basement of an apartment building, when the person slipped and looked back, allowing Detective Fernandez to see his face briefly in the basement lighting. The person entered the building and Detective Fernandez followed through two doors, the latter of which led into the apartment where defendant Eric Ibarguen was arrested. On the present record, we cannot tell in what part of the apartment the police apprehended Mr. Ibarguen. In his sworn grand jury testimony, Detective Fernandez testified

37 N.Y.3d 1111

to apprehending the man he was chasing just inside the door to the apartment. At trial, he said he chased the man into the living room of the apartment, where he placed him under arrest. Detective Fernandez testified that he identified Mr. Ibarguen as Spanky not by the jacket he was wearing (he was not), nor by finding the pre-recorded bills on his person (they were not), nor even from finding on Mr. Ibarguen's person the cell phone Spanky used minutes earlier (it was not), but rather from having seen his face in the stairwell and by his cold body temperature and racing heart.

Upon arresting Mr. Ibarguen and the two other occupants, the police "froze" the apartment—preventing the entry of any person into the apartment overnight—and sought a warrant to return to search the home. To justify the warrant's issuance, Detective Fernandez relied not just on what transpired before he entered the apartment (i.e. the buy and bust operation and his pursuit of Spanky), but also his observations once inside the apartment, including his seeing several glassines of a substance he believed to be heroin. The court issued the warrant the next morning and the police searched the apartment, where they found one $20 pre-recorded bill inside the bathroom on the floor and an XXL-sized black jacket next to the bathroom. They did not find the cell phone Spanky had used to communicate with the police or the other pre-recorded bill. No fingerprint or DNA tests were ordered for the glassines recovered in the buy-and-bust to connect them to Mr. Ibarguen. The only other evidence linking Mr. Ibarguen to the buy-and-bust the night of his arrest was a show-up with the undercover detective, who identified Mr. Ibarguen as Spanky, and Detective Fernandez's testimony regarding the chase.

Mr. Ibarguen testified to the events differently. Mr. Ibarguen, an operations

157 N.Y.S.3d 255
178 N.E.3d 920

manager of nine years, had been invited by friends down the street from his home to dine with them that evening. A little after 7:00 PM, police officers in plain clothes broke down the two doors leading to the basement apartment in a "commotion". The officers asked Mr. Ibarguen—a Latino man—and his two hosts "where is he?" and explained that they were looking for "a short, fat [B]lack man wearing a black hoody". After the police first asked Mr. Ibarguen and his two hosts to leave the apartment and performed frisk searches on each of them, they asked the group to return inside. The officers then arrested Mr. Ibarguen—throwing him to the bed, pinning him down with...

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