In Florida, if the police conduct an illegal search of a person and find drugs or evidence of other criminal activity, that person can challenge the search and have the evidence thrown out if successful. However, what if the police conduct an illegal search of another person that detrimentally affects the defendant? A defendant does not have standing to challenge the search of another person, or another person’s property, because that illegal search does not implicate the defendant’s own 4th Amendment privacy rights.
For instance, in a recent criminal case south of Jacksonville, Florida, a police officer was on patrol when he saw suspect, who he previously knew as a drug trafficker, reach into a parked car and hand what appeared to be cash to the defendant, who was in the driver’s seat, in exchange for a brown bag. The police officer assumed this was a drug transaction and stopped both the suspect and defendant. The police officer searched them both and found cocaine on the suspect and $1,000 in cash on defendant.
Both of the individuals were arrested on cocaine charges. Defendant’s criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the cash found on defendant as well as the cocaine found on suspect. The court denied the motion as to the cocaine found on suspect because defendant did not have the right to challenge the search of another person. A defendant cannot challenge the illegal search of another person even if the evidence found on that other person affects the defendant and produces damaging evidence for the defendant’s case.