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Chapter 90 Enforcer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a case in NH...

Judge calls at home of suspect
By Elizabeth Kenny
SeacoastOnline.com
Updated: 12:50 p.m. ET May 11, 200405/11/2004 - PORTSMOUTH - District Court Judge Sharon DeVries visited 90 Wibird St. Monday to try to answer a critical question in the drunk-driving case against John Harrington: Did police violate Harringtons constitutional rights in arresting him?

DeVries visited the former home of Harrington, the Portsmouth resident arrested for driving while intoxicated and careening into a gas pump in Kittery, Maine, on March 28. She was there in an effort to decide if Harrington had been illegally pulled from his home by the police officers who arrested him.

DeVries did not talk to reporters Monday, but is expected to make a final decision later this week.

While at 90 Wibird St., the judge measured the height of the doorstep and asked questions of both Harringtons attorney and prosecutors before partly re-enacting the scene that took place there two months ago.

On May 5, DeVries said in court that she didnt feel comfortable making a final decision on the case until after she had visited the home and saw firsthand Harringtons doorway and porch.

On March 28, a surveillance camera captured on video a truck crashing into a gas pump at a Kittery gas station, causing a massive explosion.

Witnesses to the accident followed the truck as it fled the scene into Portsmouth, in order to identify the driver to police. Witnesses testified during Harringtons trial that police arrived at 90 Wibird St. seconds after the truck pulled into the driveway.

It is what took place in or around that doorway that led Judge DeVries there on Monday.

Police testified that they knocked on the door and Harrington answered.

Harringtons attorney, James Loring, argues that his client was in his home when police pulled him onto the porch and arrested him.

On Monday, DeVries stood on the porch and surveyed the home and the doorway, measuring the height of the step and the threshold.

"Officer (Andre) Wassouf said his feet were on the kitchen floor," Loring said to DeVries.

Two Portsmouth police officers, who testified in the trial, said Harrington answered the door and appeared to be drunk. His truck, which witnesses identified, was still warm and had marks from an accident.

Officer Sean Evans said before police discussed the accident with Harrington, the suspect said: "I just got home; I havent hit anything."

The officers said that when police asked Harrington to step out of the doorway of his home, he began yelling profanities and started to shut the door. The officers then grabbed Harringtons sleeve and pulled him outside, they testified.

Loring argued the arrest was unlawful under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that police are not permitted to remove a person from his or her home.

Prosecutors argued Harrington was originally seized by police, but not initially put under arrest.

"Police may temporarily detain a suspect for investigatory purposes if the police have an articulable suspicion that the person detained has committed a crime," prosecutors argued in a written statement to the court.

During the trial, police said they brought Harrington outside because they feared he would flee. If the police had waited for a search warrant to enter the home, Harringtons alcohol level could have been lower and officers would have been unable to arrest him for drunken driving, police contend.
 

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It always amazes me. I am all for preserving rights of individuals, but gimmie a break. This a-hole was drunk, slammed into a gas station and now there's argument about were exactly his feet were and if he was technically outside his residnece?! What if that gas pump was a child? F*ck him.
 

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Issue=warrant+threshold?
:?
 

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Chapter 90 Enforcer
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unfortunately because the witness followed him home the and Police showed up "seconds after" it wasn't fresh pursuit... otherwise it wouldn't even be an issue.

Ahh, what a few seconds can do... lucky bastard..
 

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Not so lucky, cause Mr. Harrington was actually convicted.

Man whose truck hit gas pump found guilty of DWI

By Elizabeth Kenny
[email protected]

PORTSMOUTH - John Harrington was found guilty Tuesday in Portsmouth District Court of driving while intoxicated in a case that made national headlines.

Harrington, 32, was arrested on March 28 after his truck was seen crashing into a gasoline pump at the 7-Eleven in Kittery, Maine, causing an explosion and fire. He also faces a charge of operating under the influence in Maine. The entire incident was recorded on the gas station's surveillance camera, and the video was aired on national news programs.

Judge Sharon DeVries ruled on Tuesday that the evidence in the case was sufficient to find Harrington "guilty beyond reasonable doubt."

Harrington's attorney, James Loring, said he plans to appeal the verdict.

DeVries also fined Harrington $900 and sentenced him to six months in a house of correction, with five months suspended, and a three-year loss of license. The penalties are on hold, however, pending the appeal.

Harrington received a more severe penalty because this is his second DWI conviction. His first conviction was in 2000.

The prosecution also presented information about an accident that occurred on Oct. 7, 2003, in which Harrington's vehicle was found outside Naber Market on Middle Street in Portsmouth after allegedly hitting a fence and garage.

Harrington was never charged in that matter because of lack of evidence, said the prosecution. But the state asked that DeVries consider it during her sentencing.

Loring, however, asked that the October 2003 incident not be considered in determining the penalties for the March 28 incident.

During last week's trial, Loring argued that police illegally removed Harrington from his home and thereby violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

On Monday, DeVries visited Harrington's apartment at 90 Wibird St. to determine if that was true.

In announcing her verdict Tuesday, DeVries ruled that the arrest was lawful because of reports the officers had received from Kittery, Maine, police and the potential harm Harrington could have caused if he had been allowed to continue to drive.

DeVries said the witnesses to the crash, who testified in the trial, gave police enough evidence to believe that Harrington had been driving the vehicle recklessly. John Harrington

In their testimony, the witnesses said they followed the truck as it sped away from the scene of the explosion to 90 Wibird St. When police arrived at that address moments later, witnesses identified Harrington's vehicle.

Portsmouth Police Officer Sean Evans described the arrest during his court testimony on April 30.

Evans said he and two other officers walked up the driveway of the Wibird Street residence and knocked on the door. A "disheveled" Harrington answered, the officer testified.

When the police questioned him, Harrington became upset and uttered some profanities. When he tried to step back inside the home, police said, they pulled him out.

When Harrington started to get physical, the police placed him in handcuffs and took him into custody but did not place him under arrest, said the officer.

Loring argued that the arrest was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

According to Evans, Harrington at that point said: "I just got home; I haven't hit anything," before police mentioned the accident to him.

Police testified that Harrington also said, "I haven't been in Kittery." At that point, Harrington was placed under arrest.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/05122004/news/15543.htm

Nick
 

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Alright, newbie here correct me if I'm wrong. I'm going over this right now in the R/I Academy.
"When the police questioned him, Harrington became upset and uttered some profanities. When he tried to step back inside the home, police said, they pulled him out. "
If the man was outside being questioned, then went back inside he can be retreived on the basis that a reasonable person wouldn't have beleived that they could leave. The officers had reasonalbe suspicion to sieze him for investigation. Now if the man hadn't been outside his threshold, he wouldn't have been able to be removed without a warrant right?
 

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[quote="Dan H @ Fri September 24, 2004 10:05 am"]Alright, newbie here correct me if I'm wrong. I'm going over this right now in the R/I Academy.
"When the police questioned him, Harrington became upset and uttered some profanities. When he tried to step back inside the home, police said, they pulled him out. "
If the man was outside being questioned, then went back inside he can be retreived on the basis that a reasonable person wouldn't have beleived that they could leave. The officers had reasonalbe suspicion to sieze him for investigation. Now if the man hadn't been outside his threshold, he wouldn't have been able to be removed without a warrant right?[/quote]


Dan, it all depends on if he stepped out, or they pulled him out. That is the question. Then there is a question that could be raised about the porch {being part of his dwelling}.
If he was outside the residence, he could have been held for further investigation.

In Mass, the state would have lost. Remenber, you need a warrant, exigency, or consent.

The courts haver already forbid entry for an OUI because they didn't have either of the above.

The case is Comm vs. DiGeronimo. Read it when you have nothing to do.

http://www.commonwealthpolice.net/case/commD/Commonwealth%20v%20DiGeronimo,%2038%20Mass.%20App.%20Ct.%20(1995).htm
 
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