Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

My neighbors home was burglarized cops came knocking on my door my son also came to the.door when i answered it took a look at his shoes and determined he did it. When it turns out the.shoe print they found was from Vans and my son was wearing Adios. They held him i told them i would not consent to search they came in my house and said they were freezing my propery until they could get a warrant. This started at 11pm amd they held myself my daughter my boyfriend 2 friends amd her daughter and said we were not free to go. We waited umtil 8:30 am at wich point I was told they had a warrant signed and they said they were.going to toss my whole hous and i finally consented because we get to wprk school ect and had been held for over 9 hours and I asked them how long they could hold us why we were being held are we free to.leave and was told if we.leave we.will be arrested so I basically had no rights. How legal was this?

Asked on 2/01/12, 11:12 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

It sounds to me like the officers obtained your consent through coercion, and that they unreasonably seized everyone in the house. There is a good chance that your son will be able to get any evidence turned up in the search excluded on this basis. Of course, his lawyer will have to convince the court that your account of what happened is accurate. The prosecution will also find ways to argue that the search and seizure were proper. Some of those arguments might even be correct, depending upon the facts.

If your son has been charged or if it seems likely he will be charged, then he needs a good defense attorney right away. You and the others who were detained may also have grounds for a civil rights lawsuit against the police, but even if you do I'm not sure how much it would be worth. You should find some local civil rights lawyers and ask them what they think.

Finally, I suggest that you call your local chapter of the ACLU and tell them what happened. They may be willing to represent you in court if they feel a lawsuit against the police is appropriate. They might also put various other kinds of pressure on the police department in light of what happened to you.

Good luck.

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Answered on 2/02/12, 11:32 am

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