On July 8, 2009 Cambridge, Massachusetts Police arrested Manuel Pimentel. He was charged with trafficking cocaine and a school zone violation. According to reports Pimentel was caught in a surveillance effort that originated after complaints for drug activity were reported in a specific part of Cambridge. Here is what happened. Shortly after 6:00 p.m. Pimentel drove into the surveillance area in a minivan. He was seen making a phone call. He then started looking around for someone. A plain clothed detective approached him and identified himself. Pimentel reached towards the center console. Officers then forcibly removed the defendant from the minivan. In the process they located cocaine on the passenger seat in a container. Assorted drug paraphernalia was seized as well.
So how is the defendant going to fights this case? A motion to suppress the search would be a nice start. The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights prohibit police officers from subjecting individuals to warrantless and unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause. There are exceptions to the warrant requirement however case law suggest that that does not apply here. In a recent case with facts similar to this one suppression of the evidence resulted. That case, Commonwealth v. Klement, 2007 WL 1079993, 1 (2007) reported that the stop was based on a hunch where a man flagged down a minivan. The minivan slowed and pulled up to him and the man went to the minivan’s passenger side window, leaned in and appeared to speak to the occupants. The police stopped and searched based on a hunch. The United States Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court have both held “hunches” do not provide a legal basis for searches and seizures. Klement held that the officer was acting on a hunch.
Attorney Stephen Neyman is committed to fighting constitutional violations through suppression motions, motions to dismiss and trial. If you have been Charged With A Drug Crime In Massachusetts call our office now to discuss your case. We can be reached at 617-263-6800 or you can contact us online.