Constitutional rights and personal rights

| Mar 1, 2011 | Criminal Defense |

In State v. Williams, the Houston Appellate Court heard an appeal from a case where the pills fell from the defendant’s bra when the officer requested that she pull her bra away from her body and the evidence was suppressed.  According the officer, “because the defendant was relatively well endowed, the officer was concerned she may have concealed the steak knife in her bra.”  Nevertheless, the officer’s concern did not allow the officer to broaden the scope of a pat-down search.  The male police officer’s reluctance to perform a pat-down on the female defendant provided insufficient justification for his requesting that the defendant pull her bra away from her body, even though the officer obtained information that the defendant could be armed with a steak knife and way concerned for his safety.  The court emphasized that the officer was not told, specifically, that the steak knife was hidden in the defendant’s bra.

This case demonstrates a citizen accused’s constitutional rights can prevent a criminal prosecution or conviction.