Tivia Leith just filed a $30 million lawsuit against Nassau County alleging that she was racially profiled by police.  

Leith claims that she had just picked up her 9 year old son from school when she heard the lights and sirens.  She asked the officer why she was being pulled over and the officer wouldn’t give her a reason.  Her son was in the car crying.  She waited in handcuffs until her son’s father came to pick up her son.  

Leith was taken to the First Precinct where she was strip searched according to her lawsuit.    Leith is alleged to have had an active bench warrant from a DWI arrest in 2020.

The question is: was the original stop legitimate or was it based upon racial profiling which is illegal?

In NYS, according to the Court of Appeals (the highest court in NY) in order to pull over a motor vehicle, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that an individual has violated the Vehicle and Traffic Law.  People v. Robinson, 97 N.Y.2d 341 (2001).  

What’s definition of “Probable Cause” :  “reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed an offense exists when evidence or information which appears reliable discloses facts or circumstances which are collectively of such weight and persuasiveness as to convince a person of ordinary intelligence, judgment, and experience that it is reasonably likely that such offense was committed and that such person committed it.”  CPL s. 70.10(2).  

When a person is pulled over and charged with an offense or a crime, you may have the right to challenge that evidence by engaging in pretrial suppression hearings.  If a judge agrees that the evidence was illegally obtained as in the case of an illegal stop (one lacking in probable cause), you may have the evidence thrown out.  Assuming the District Attorney’s Office does not appeal such a decision, the case will essentially be over.  

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance, call my office at 516-385-2940 or 631-861-0000.  You may also send me an email at LuigiVigliotti75@gmail.com or visit my website at www.vigliottilaw.com.  

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The Law Offices of Luigi Vigliotti, P.C., serves clients in courts on Long Island, New York City and upstate New York.

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