ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's highest court has thrown out a woman's gun conviction, concluding police improperly searched her purse while arresting her for trespassing in Bronx apartment building's lobby.
The Court of Appeals, divided 4-3, also reduced the trespassing conviction of Josefina Jimenez to a misdemeanor.
The majority says in order to search someone's closed bag after arresting them, police must face a situation requiring immediate action because of underlying safety concerns or to protect evidence from being destroyed or concealed.
Because Jimenez was cooperative when police took the purse and handcuffed her, and with no indication she or her companion were armed or dangerous, the court says the search was "improper."
The dissenters say the handbag search by officers responding to a 911 call about a fifth-floor burglary was "reasonable."
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