Case Caption: Mario Gevon Emanuel v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2017-0035Date: 06/08/2018Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: Summary: The Superior Court did not err in denying a defendant’s motion to suppress an unlicensed firearm with obliterated serial numbers found on his person. Under the Fourth Amendment an officer may briefly detain a person to determine whether a crime has been committed or is about to be committed – if there is reasonable suspicion existed to justify the stop given the totality of the circumstances in light of the individual officer’s training and experience. In determining whether the detaining officer had a particularized and objective basis for suspecting legal wrongdoing, courts must evaluate the collective information of all officers involved. In this case, the officer relied on information from a taskforce briefing and believed that the defendant resembled the suspect described in a notice to “be on the lookout” for a perpetrator, providing a reasonable suspicion under a totality of the circumstances. In this case the suspected criminal activity for which the defendant was stopped was the future act of executing a threat and committing violence against an officer. Once a suspect has been stopped an officer may – for his own safety – perform a cursory inspection of the detainee’s outer clothing if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the detainee is both armed and dangerous. In this case the defendant told the officer, before a pat-down search began, that he had a gun in his pants pocket, giving legitimate cause for the officer to believe he was armed and dangerous. The Superior Court did not err in denying the motion to suppress, and its judgment entered upon convictions for unauthorized possession of a firearm, 14 V.I.C. § 2253(a), and unauthorized possession of a firearm with altered identification marks, 23 V.I.C. § 481(b), is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion