Mr. Corletta demonstrated, without opposition from the District Attorney, and with agreement by the Court, that a criminal suspect's refusal to talk to the police cannot result in an Obstruction charge in People v. W.E. (Rochester City Court, 11/17).
In that case, police alleged Mr. Corletta’s client was operating a stolen car, based upon a radio report. They approached the car while the client was still seated inside and directed the client to exit. The client complied; but when police attempted to question and then handcuff the client, the client fled. The vehicle turned out to be the client's sister’s vehicle, and was being operated with her permission.
Mr. Corletta, reviewing the facts, and citing applicable caselaw, filed a written Motion to Dismiss the charge, in which he argued an individual has no Constitutional obligation to speak to police or cooperate in any investigation.
The District Attorney did not respond, and in fact agreed with it, as did the Court, which dismissed the Obstruction charge. Interestingly, the police never provided corroboration for their claim that the vehicle had been stolen. This occurred in a so-called “high crime” area, and the client may have been profiled.