State v. Crespo
Connecticut General Statutes §54-1c renders inadmissible any admission, confession or statement given by an accused person who remains in state custody after he should have been presented in court; however, this remedy does not invalidate statements made prior to that time due to later, unrelated wrongdoing by police in prolonging the pre-presentation detention period. Bridgeport police Officer Hugo Stern received a confidential informant's tip regarding a man in a market parking lot offering to sell an Uzi-type pistol wrapped in a black plastic bag from a white van with certain registration plates. Stern arrived at the market minutes later and saw Victor Crespo, matching the description, next to a white van. Through the open van door, a black plastic bag was visible. A loaded, semiautomatic Uzi-type pistol was found inside. Arrested, Crespo volunteered without interrogation that the van was "his vehicle" and he was "holding the weapon for Fats … for some heroin folds." Following a jury trial, Crespo was found guilty of crimes, including unlawful possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and possession of an assault weapon. He appealed raising multiple claims. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant argued that the informant's tip was insufficient to support a finding of probable cause. The record supported the court's finding that the informant was reliable. Given the informant's basis of knowledge, detailed information and Stern's corroboration and successful past work with the informant, probable cause existed to believe the pistol would be in the defendant's vehicle. The court properly found the vehicle's search permissible under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement and properly denied the defendant's motion to suppress the gun evidence. The defendant also claimed that because he was not presented in court the day following his arrest as required by C.G.S. §54-1c, his written statement was rendered inadmissible. The panel concluded that the legislature's intent in enacting C.G.S. §54-1c, was to create a prompt arraignment scheme, which prohibited the admission of statements given after the period of delay and obtained by police from such impermissible conduct. The remedy of C.G.S. §54-1c does not invalidate statements made prior to that time due to later, unrelated wrongdoing by police in prolonging the period of his pre-presentment detention. Accordingly, the motion to suppress the statement was properly denied.