Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DA's Brief Opposing Kerekes' Motion to Supress Evidence Seized from Vehicle



On May 15, 2007, Pennsylvania authorities filed homicide and related charges against the Defendants at Magistrate Tupper’s District Court in Shavertown, Pennsylvania. Arrest warrants were immediately issued for the Defendants. On the same date, the Virginia Beach Police Department obtained a search warrant for the Defendants’ residence at 1028 Stratem Court, Virginia Beach, Virginia, as well as, any and all vehicles obtained, used, or associated with the RICO violations, money laundering and prostitution.’ The warrant also describes the defendants’ various services including “out call” services where the Defendants would drive to the clients’ houses or motel rooms for the appointments.

The warrant had been sworn out before a Judge from of the Virginia Beach Circuit Court, the equivalent of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. A copy of the warrant is attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “1”. Detective Matthew Childress of the Special Investigations Division, Virginia Beach Police Department had applied and sworn out this search warrant.

The search warrant specifically states the offense committed were Conspiracy to violate the Virginia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (hereinafter “RICO”) § 18.2-514, Conspiracy to Launder Money, § 18.2-246.3, and Conspiracy to Receive Money from the Earnings of Male or Female Prostitutes, § 18.2-357, and gives a specific description of 1028 Stratcm Court, Virginia Beach, Virginia, the defendants’ residence, as the home to be searched, as well as, the items to be searched including cars and other luxury items. A detailed description of items to be searched for in Section 3 of the warrant includes any and all assets, personal property, luxury items, jewelry, U.S. currency, vehicles, or any and all items obtained, used, or associated with the furtherance of the criminal enterprise, or associated with the laundering of assets derived in whole or in part from the criminal enterprise, or prostitution ring.

On May 15, 2007, the Defendants’ vehicle was stopped by the Virginia Beach Police Department. The Virginia Beach Police Department stopped the vehicle occupied by the Defendants because (1) they were aware of the active fugitive arrest warrants for the occupants/Defendants out of Pennsylvania and (2) the active search warrant issued by a Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge for the Defendants’ property. The vehicle which the Defendants occupied at the time of the stop was driven back to the Virginia Beach Police Department’s Special Investigation Division since the Defendants were in custody. The vehicle was subject to an inventory search, which is the standard practice and protocol of the Virginia Beach Police Department, by Virginia Beach Police Detective Matthew Childress.

Among the items seized from the Defendants’ during the inventory search of their vehicle by the Virginia Beach Police Department were: a “SigSauer” folding knife, a “Sony” laptop computer, a black bag containing a “Toshiba” laptop computer and a “Sprint” mobile air card. The Virginia Beach Police Department turned these items over to the Pennsylvania State Police on May 18, 2007.


1. Whether Pennsylvania or Virginia law governs the search of the Defendants’ vehicle?

Suggested Answer: Virginia law governs.

2. Whether or not the Virginia Beach search warrant is valid under Virginia law?

Suggested Answer: Yes.

3. Whether or not the Commonwealth of Virginia has adopted the good faith exception regarding search warrants?

Suggested Answer: Yes.

4. Whether the search of Defendants’ car was a lawful inventory search?

Suggested Answer: Yes.

5. Whether the automobile exception to search warrants applies.

Suggested Answer: No.


Part A: Conflicts of Laws-Virginia Law Governs the Search of the Defendant's Vehicle in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Part B: Detective Childress' Search Warrant is Valid.
Part C: Good Faith Exception.
Part D: The Defendants’ Vehicle was Subject to a Lawful Inventory Search.
Part E: The Automobile Exception Does Not Apply & Conclusion.