Searches, Seizures and Interrogations

Read more about case results obtained by the attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP in motions to suppress in cases involving search, seizure and interrogations.

United States v. Esteban Jr.

Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) had claimed that they had a basis to stop a truck that was driving on I-80 based upon the purported traffic violation of failing to signal for more than two seconds before changing lanes. The troopers used a drug-sniffing canine as their purported basis of searching the truck. Large quantities of controlled substances were located during the search.

United States v. Rodriguez

Multiple pounds of methamphetamine suppressed. The federal district court found that the defendant's consent to the search of his vehicle was not freely given and the search violated the defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court suppressed all evidence seized, and the case was dismissed due to the constitutional violations.

United States v. Mayer

818 F.2d 725 (10th Cir. 1987)

Officers discovered 650 pounds of marijuana that had been flown into the Milford airport in Beaver County, Utah. Both pilot and passenger were charged with federal drug offenses. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat filed a motion to suppress, arguing that law enforcement had improperly searched the hangar and aircraft without a properly obtained warrant. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. The evidence was suppressed and the case was dismissed.

United States v. Ignacio Sanchez

U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Case No. 94-CR-114G

The defendant was the driver of a car that was stopped in Richfield, Utah. The officers detained the driver and took the car to a shop where several pounds of methamphetamine were found in a hidden compartment. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat successfully argued that law enforcement had no basis to seize the vehicle and transport it to the body shop to search. The federal district court judge agreed and ordered that the "evidence discovered through the invasive search of the interior of the car must be suppressed."

Possession with Intent To Distribute

Third District Court, Summit County (June 2009)

The defendant was charged with felony Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and Possession of a Controlled Substance after Utah Highway Patrol troopers stopped the defendant while [delete] driving on I-80 in Summit County and, thereafter, finding eight pounds of marijuana in the defendant's trunk. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat challenged the basis of the stop and search, and the state court granted the motion to suppress the evidence found. The case was dismissed by the State based upon the court’s ruling.

Possession of Controlled Substance

Eighth District Court, Vernal

A driver was stopped by a Uintah County Sheriff's Deputy for a claimed window tint violation. Another officer from the Vernal City Police Department was called to bring out his K-9 dog. A search revealed methamphetamine and marijuana. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat moved to suppress the evidence. Prior to the actual suppression hearing, the County Attorney agreed to suspend prosecution, and the case was eventually dismissed.

United States v. Taylor

U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Case No. 2:99CR-541K

The defendant (driver) and a co-defendant (passenger) were stopped by the Utah Highway Patrol on I-70 in Sevier County for alleged speeding. The officer claimed to be able to smell raw marijuana. After a search of the vehicle, officers located a small amount of marijuana residue and a large amount of cocaine. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat moved to suppress the drug evidence, arguing that the officer could not justify the detention and search. The federal district court agreed, concluding that officers illegally detained the defendant and the search, without consent, violated the Fourth Amendment.

Possession of Controlled Substance

U.S. District Court, District of Utah (May 2006)

The defendant was charged with Possession of Controlled Substance (marijuana) in Zions National Park. The federal district court granted the motion to suppress filed by Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat based upon the unconstitutional search and seizure. Thereafter, the District Court granted the client's expungement of the federal arrest record in March 2010.

State v. Holmes

774 P.2d 506 (Utah 1989)

The defendant was arrested in Salt Lake City when she was found in a vehicle where heroin was located. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat moved to suppress the drug evidence. The motion was denied in the trial court. However, the Utah Supreme Court reversed, finding the officer's search was improper.

Child Pornography Case

Third District Court, Salt Lake City (August 2009)

The defendant was charged with ten state felonies involving possession of illegal pornography after agents from the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force entered his home and searched and questioned the defendant and his wife. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat filed a motion to suppress all evidence found and provided facts to the Court that law enforcement officers told lies in order to get into a private citizen's home without a warrant. The District Court granted the motion, agreeing with each argument raised by Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat. The case was dismissed.


Salt Lake City Court (August 2009)

The defendant was pulled over for a traffic violation and the officer smelled alcohol. The defendant performed field sobriety tests and performed well. The defendant thereafter refused the chemical breath test. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat filed a motion to suppress, arguing that because the defendant was not impaired, there was no basis to arrest for DUI. The judge granted the defendant's motion on the basis that the officer did not have probable cause to arrest the defendant for DUI. The case was dismissed.

Possession of Controlled Substance

Salt Lake County (November 2006)

The defendant was charged with Possession of Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia from a traffic stop on I-80. The charges were dismissed with the Government's concession to Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat's motion to suppress based on the unlawful search and seizure that occurred in the matter.

Carrying Concealed Weapon

Fourth District Court, Juab County (October 2005)

The defendant was stopped for a minor traffic violation on I-15 near Nephi, Utah, resulting in an improper and illegal search of his vehicle. The defendant was ultimately charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon. The case was dismissed, however, based upon the Court's granting of Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat's motion to suppress due to the unconstitutional search of the vehicle.

Possession of Weapon in Airport

Salt Lake City (April 2004)

The defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon through the airport security checkpoint. The Court granted Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat's motion to dismiss based on the argument that the client's conduct did not violate the city ordinance.

Attempted Theft/Burglary

Third District Juvenile Court, Salt Lake City (August 2003)

A juvenile was charged, along with several other co-defendants, with felony thefts and burglary. The juvenile and the other co-defendants were "rounded up" and questioned at school. During the questioning, officers acted in a threatening manner. Officers also questioned these students without giving them Miranda warnings. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat sought to exclude all evidence and statements obtained by law enforcement under these coercive circumstances. The Juvenile Court granted the motion, and the case was dismissed.

State v. Parker

834 P.2d 592 (Utah 1992)

The defendant was charged with felony burglary of a dwelling after he was arrested and made incriminating statements to officers. However, because these statements were made after the defendant was given his Miranda rights but had not assuredly waived them, Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat asked that all evidence be suppressed because of the improper and coercive arrest. The Court of Appeals agreed and found that police officers lacked the required probable cause for arrest so that all subsequent statements had to be excluded.

DUI/Minor in Possession of Alcohol

Salt Lake City Justice Court (June 2006)

The defendant was stopped by a Salt Lake City Police officer arriving in the area of a reported fight when he allegedly noticed the defendant's vehicle "take off at a high rate of speed." Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat moved to suppress any evidence obtained since officers stopped the defendant without reason to believe he had committed any crime. The motion was granted, and the case was dismissed.

Domestic Violence Assault

Taylorsville Justice Court (Dec. 2005)

The defendant was charged with Domestic Violence Assault. Prior to trial, Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat filed a motion to exclude the alleged victim's statements. Initially granting that motion, the Court thereafter granted the motion to dismiss based upon the City's inability to present the alleged victim's testimony.

State v. Penn

2004 UT App 212

Represented initially by another law firm, a physician had been convicted of three counts of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat became involved after the trial and appealed the convictions on several issues, including the issues of an invalid warrant, improper jury instructions, and the failure by the State to disclose to the defense material information. The appellate court reversed the defendant's convictions, accepting Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat's arguments.

Search and Seizure

On July 4, 2011 the defendant and a companion were driving a rental car through Salt Lake County at which time they were detained by the Utah Highway Patrol. Subsequent to the stop a search was conducted; and although no drugs were found, the troopers discovered the defendant to be in possession of $171,800.00 in U.S. currency. The State of Utah seized the property. The court ordered the $171,800.00 to be returned with interest and attorney fees paid.

Unreasonable Seizure

Defendant was pulled over for Speeding while traveling 37 mph in a 40 mph zone which the UHP Trooper mistakenly believed to be a 25 mph zone. The defendant was subsequently arrested for DUI and Alcohol Restricted Driver. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat filed a motion to suppress all evidence based on an illegal seizure. The justice court granted the motion to suppress, and the prosecution appealed the case to the district court. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat again argued that the defendant’s constitutional rights against unreasonable seizure was violated. The district court affirmed the justice court’s ruling and granted the motion to suppress. The case was ultimately dismissed by the State.

United States v. McLaughlin

The defendant was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for a traffic violation outside of Richfield, Utah, on I-70. The police used a drug-sniffing dog and claimed that the animal "hit" on the vehicle. A search then revealed controlled substances in the car. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat challenged the traffic stop as well as the use of the dog. At a hearing, it was shown that the officer did not have a legitimate basis to search and that the dog was not reliable. The federal district court granted the defendant's motion to suppress all of the evidence. Left with no case, the government moved to dismiss.

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