The NY Post reports:
For the second time in a week,a Manhattan appeals court has overturned the conviction of a teen found packing heat in a crime-ridden neighborhood after a stop-and-frisk.
In yesterday’s stunning decision, the five judge panel reversed the conviction of a14-year-old boy with a rap sheet whom cops found carrying a loaded handgun.
Both decisions are seen as a slap in the face to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program aimed at getting guns off the streets.
“They are basically saying officers need to wait for someone to stick a gun in their face before looking for a weapon, even when they have clear and legitimate suspicion,” fumed Mayor Bloomberg’s spokesman, Marc Lavorgna.
“They are establishing a precedent that is going to keep more guns on the street and get people killed.”
In the latest case, Jaquan Morant, then 14, was busted on June 11, 2010, outside the drug-plagued Manhattanville Houses in West Harlem with a 9mm pistol loaded with 11 rounds, according to court records.
Sources said the gun’s serial number had been scratched off.
Officer Mourad Arslanbeck said he saw Morant looking up and down the street, and making a quick phone call before he knelt down, removed a white object from his waistband, and slipped it into his backpack.
When the cop approached Morant, the Bronx boy asked, “What do you want from me? I’m only 14,” and claimed to be on his way to an address written on his arm — known to be “a high-crime, drug-prone location,” court records show.
The “fidgety” teen denied anything was in the backpack, even though it felt very heavy to the cop.
Morant gave the cop permission to search his backpack for his school ID. There, Arslanbeck found the loaded gun.
Morant was sentenced to 15 months’ probation, but appealed.
In a 3-2 ruling, the judges said Arslanbeck lacked both the reasonable suspicion needed to justify patting down Morant and the probable cause needed to search the backpack.
The teen’s mom, Kimberly Morant, last night told The Post she wasn’t aware of the court’s decision but said, “I’m glad [the conviction] was tossed out.”
Of her son’s gun bust, the Bronx mom said, “I’m still trying to forget about it.
“I don’t know where he got it from.’’
Asked if Jaquan — whom law-enforcement sources said has two prior busts, for robbery and grand larceny — was a good child, she replied, “He’s an all right kid.’’
In the earlier reversal, the judges overturned the conviction and probation sentence of Darryl Craig, also 14, who was found toting a loaded .25-caliber pistol. Three months after Craig was busted, he allegedly shot and nearly killed a Queens man.
Michael Cardozo, head of the city’s Law Department, said he will appeal the rulings in both cases.
(Source: NY Post)