Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Identity Information In DMV Records Not Suppressible As Fruit Of Illegal Stop

In People v Tolentino (2010 NY Slip Op 02643 [NY [3/30/10]) the Court of Appeals held that when a defendant alleges that he was subject to an illegal traffic stop, he is not entitled to suppression of DMV records DMV records obtained through the police stop and inquiry of the driver. The Court held that such records are not subject to the exclusionary rule when the only link between the police conduct and the evidence is that the police learned a defendant's name. Further, the Court held that DMV records are not subject to suppression since they are government records compiled independently of defendant's arrest. Consequently, the issue of whether the defendant was unlawfully stopped, and as a result of the stop the police determined that he was driving with a suspended license, need not be litigated at a pre-trial hearing. Judges Ciparick wrote a dissent, in which Chief Judge Lippman joined urging that the deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule should be applicable to identity-related evidence.

1 comment:

  1. It's the link between the defendant's identity and his actions (driving) which is the fruit of the illegality. There ought to be an analysis which permits suppression of that link, and thereby removes the incentive to stop without reason and see what's up, without suppressing either the DMV information, which exists outside the illegality, or his identity, which seems hard to justify.