The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution seems to have little weight in Dearborn, Michigan. Officer Brian Kapanowski (the officer who arrested Negeen) admitted, during the trial, that he had no reason at all to believe that she had committed a crime of any kind when he approached her. Hence, he had no right to put his hands on her, seize her property, or throw her in jail.
Since Officer Kapanowski did not have "probable cause" (or any reasonable suspicion that Negeen had committed or was about to commit a crime), it was illegal for him to seize Negeen or her property. After violating Negeen's rights and grabbing her, Officer Kapanowski should have been fired from the police force and charged with assault and battery (if not abduction). Yet Judge Mark Somers, who presided during our trial, wouldn't allow our lawyer, Robert Muise, to argue the "probable cause" issue in front of the jury. The judge's erroneous ruling was therefore the main reason Negeen was convicted (more on the judge's blunder here).
I'm happy to announce that a court outside of Dearborn will now be handling the appeal. The Thomas More Law Center filed a massive appellant brief today on Negeen's behalf. Those who are interested may read the brief in its entirety (if your screen is small, you can click here for a PDF file):
I'm no legal expert, but this looks like a slam dunk to me. William DeBiasi, Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Dearborn, was clearly outmatched during our trial. We'll see how he does in front of a judge who won't bend over backwards for a corrupt police department.
For a full discussion of the events in Dearborn, click here.