Court Rejects Purse Search, Gun Conviction

ALBANY (AP) -

New York’s highest court threw out a woman’s gun conviction, concluding police found the illegal weapon after improperly searching her purse while arresting her for trespassing in Bronx building’s lobby.

The Court of Appeals, divided 4-3, also reduced the trespassing conviction of Josefina Jimenez to a misdemeanor.

The majority says in order to search someone’s closed bag after arresting them, police must face a situation requiring immediate action because of safety concerns or to protect evidence. Because Jimenez was cooperative, they said the search was “improper.”The dissenters say the handbag search by officers responding to a 911 call about a fifth-floor burglary was “reasonable.”