core legal attorney, christopher wirth successful in getting smartphone search and text messages suppressed, resulting in
dismissal of felony drug charge.
KENT COUNTY, MI -- JULY 11, 2014
Core Legal attorney Christopher Wirth successfully argued to suppress text messages and all other evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree arising from law enforcement's unlawful search of his client's smartphone incident to a February 12 arrest. Wirth's motion was one of the first of its kind in Michigan following the United States Supreme Court's opinion in Riley v California late last month. Wirth raised the issue at his client's February arraignment and later filed a motion to suppress the evidence as a result of the warrantless search violation of his client's 4th Amendment Constitutional rights. Wirth's motion tracked the legal analysis of a long line of 4th amendment case law, including the 1st Circuit's ruling and logic in United States v Wurie, 11-1792 (1st Cir. 2013) which was decided last summer.
Wirth's motion was heard on July 11 by Judge Mark Trusock, the Kent County Circuit Court judge assigned to the case. Judge Trusock ruled in Wirth's favor, suppressing the evidence. At the hearing, Wirth first needed to convince the court that the recent United States Supreme Court opinion in Riley v California, 134 S.Ct. 2473 (2014), which was decided on June 25 of this year, should be applied to a search that had occurred back in February. Wirth argued that the expectation of privacy in the information accessible by a smartphone was long protected by the 4th Amendment and that the Riley decision was simply the Court's affirmation of that principal. Judge Trusock agreed and found the February 12 search of the cellphone to be unlawful despite the fact that it occurred prior to Riley. Wirth next needed to convince the court that the doctrine of the exclusionary rule should apply to the evidence in his case, which would result in the jury not hearing such evidence at trial. He also needed to successfully refute the Kent County Prosecutor's argument that the Supreme Court's dicta in Davis v United States made the exclusionary rule inappropriate to the case, as well as convince the court that the circumstances in his case would not support application of the inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule.
The text messages at issue, according to the Prosecutor, were the primary circumstantial evidence of intent to sell or distribute in the case. Wirth anticipated that the Prosecutor would use an expert law enforcement witness at trial to put certain text messages into a drug culture context in the hope that the jury would believe his client was texting about drug deals. Wirth maintained throughout the case that the text messages did not say what the Prosecutor argued they said, and felt confident that the jury would see through the prejudicial impact if presented at trial.
Without the text message evidence, the felony drug case was dismissed and Wirth's client plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Because Wirth's client was an alleged repeat offender he was facing up to 6-years in prison and $20,000 fine under the original felony drug charge.
As the first Michigan case to be decided post-Riley, this latest success is an additional example of the smart, aggressive and cutting edge criminal defense provided by the attorneys at Core Legal. Click here to see Christopher Wirth's bio.