Motion to suppress evidence granted

courthouseIn a lengthy hearing in Mammoth Court earlier this week, attorney Doug Buchanan won a motion to suppress evidence seized in a traffic stop by Mono County Sheriff’s Officers. The District Attorney’s Office will consider whether or not to appeal.

This is the case of Youssef Boulaalam. Details of this case went public when Attorney Allen Berry filed a claim against Mono County alleging violations of civil and constitutional rights surrounding the traffic stop of Boulaalam and the search of his vehicle. The officers claimed they thought the man was under the influence but did not investigate that claim when they stopped him. The officers instead searched his car and seized two guns, according to the claim filed and as is evident on the officers’ dash cam DVD of the arrest. The District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor charge of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Attorneys Doug Buchanan and Allen Berry filed a motion to suppress the firearm evidence based on the claim that there was no probable cause to stop their client and to search his car. Buchanan argued for the motion. Assistant District Attorney David Anderson argued against it, and the issue was heard by Judge Mark Magit. The Judge granted the motion to suppress the evidence. It was reported that Mr. Anderson said the DA’s office would consider if the decision would be appealed.

In the matter of the claim filed against Mono County, the Board of Supervisors recently rejected it.


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34 Responses to Motion to suppress evidence granted

  1. Trouble February 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    The law finally got caught doing exactly what we all know they have been doing for the last ??? years. We call it cherry picking in sports.

    • I Love To Fish March 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      I’m so glad that the MCSO is busted on this. This has bee going on for YEARS!! YEARS!!

      I hope MC Sheriffs and all LE start following the law, and stop thinking they’re above it.

      We have rights!! and LE has Laws to follow just like we do.

      This is my story about MOS pulling me over and violating my 4th amendment rights.

      10/29/11 I was passing through Bridgeport southbound passed a MC Sheriff whom had a car pulled over going northbound.
      (about at the USFS station)

      The Sheriff was rubbernecking me as I passed him. No big deal I thought I was going the speed limit (with nothing illegal) in a friends car with Michigan plates. But right as I was coming to the Bodie turn off he came hauling up to me, (so I turn on my Digital Voice Recorder) and pulled us over.

      He said the muffler was hanging a bit low, he runs my license comes back ask if I have any drugs or alcohol in the car? no, “well it smells like pot.”
      “sorry officer (J. Palichowski) I don’t have any pot, I have a pipe but no pot, and I have a state licensed MMP Card for marijuana”

      (see link)

      well that’s a Government issued card, that Government agencies need to acknowledge. (its not some bogus physicians recommendation on paper)

      he asked if he could search the car? I said “No I would like to uphold my 4th amendment right and I do not allow you to search this car”

      “is there and alcohol in the cooler?” “no I don’t drink.”

      I’m going to search the car anyway I think you guys been drinking…. and ask me and my friend to step out of the car.

      Wow muffler hanging low to thinking I’m Drinking?
      (I was wearing a fedora so I’m sure he was profiling me)

      After he tore the car apart for 20 minutes he found “no pot” “no alcohol” then he found the Voice Recorder and asked if I record all my police encounters? “Yes sir my attorney advises me to.”

      After that wow did his tune change, knowing he violated my 4th amendment rights and I have it recorded. we were immediately let go. He was acting so apologetic.

      Now I still have the recording.
      Maybe now is a good time to attorney up, and file another complaint against MCSO.

      • Legal Eagle March 2, 2014 at 10:49 am #

        ILTF, you should contact Mr. Boulaalam’s attorneys and advise them of the hard evidence that you possess. This shows a prior similar act and a pattern of civil rights violations by MCDS and the Sheriff and Assistant Sheriff that promote these types of illegal acts.

        You could become a party to the lawsuit.

        • I Love To Fish March 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

          Legal Eagle,
          Thanks for the advice I just called him. ;P

  2. Snowman February 27, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    First off, Mono County is very lucky to have two very good and very honest judges with Stan Eller and Mark Magit.

    The fact that the deputies wrote the supplemental report describing the probable cause for the stop months after the incident is incredible. The best they could come up with is that they were driving by Mr. Boulaalam and saw he had bloodshot eyes. Really???

    Why did they not put the probable cause for the detention of Mr. Boulaalam in the original report is more than suspicious. The fact that the original report was approved by MCSD supervisors and the DA’s office seems to show that no one there knows the law. This would also tend to make people believe that they make illegal stops all the time and get away with it because most people cannot afford a good attorney and get stuck with the public defenders who get paid the same if they go to trial or not.

    Hopefully someone who knows the law will run for DA.

    Everyone who signed off on the original report that lacks probable cause, should homestead their homes before this goes to Federal Court. They will be personally accountable as well as Mono County for a lot of money.

    With the recent Madrid decision, Mono County will be paying off lawsuits just like Mammoth Lakes for years to come. Mono County needs to get rid of the Sheriff’s Department’s administration from Lieutenant on up and a few incompetent sergeants if they want to be able to afford basic services for their citizens.

    • In the know February 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Snowman, you said it! This is not the first time A supplemental report was written days or months later after the initial report!

      This has been an ongoing trend within the sheriffs department!

      Remember the dick Luman case! Supplemental report after supplemental report! What seems to be the common denominator here! Screw up, cover it up!

      I have nothing against law enforcement! But I do have something against a corrupt administration! False reports, lying, violating rights!

      I think it’s time for this sheriffs administration to sit in “the chair”!

      Looks like a grand jury needs to take a closer look at current practices within the sheriffs department!

      The board of supervisors need to dismiss obenberger and weber!

  3. Rick O'Brien February 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    “These guys that camp…they always have guns”… THAT was their probable cause, and they got nailed for it by their own audio recorders. SO, if you’re driving up or down 395 anywhere from Tom’s Place to Topaz, if you’ve got any camping gear visible, be prepared to be jacked by the MCSO, at least until June.

  4. Wayne Deja February 28, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Why am I thinking this stop,search and arrest here is going to lead into a conversation about some of those drug busts that were made up in the Bridgeport area the past couple -three months ?….thing is,with this case,bottom line is it’s AGAINST THE LAW to be carrying a loaded weapon in your vehicle….unless you have a CCW….when I go camping overnight,and sometimes just with a day-fishing trip,depending where I’m going,I take a pistol….but I don’t keep it loaded in some compartment or hidden in a backpack in my truck on the drive there or back.If this guy had this weapon with him,and it was unloaded….and when it turned out he wasn’t drunk,he would have been sent on his merry way and not ended up in the Bridgeport Motel.With this case,and having the evidence suppressed,it’s not about trying to beat the charge of the loaded weapon in the vehicle….it’s about this guy planning a lawsuit and hoping for some big,free $$$$ coming his way….cha-ching !!!!!…and,’s not about President Obama,and “another way” to be taking everybodies guns away….loaded weapon….hidden in a vehicle….against the law….period.

    • Benett Kessler February 28, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      There is another issue. Probable cause to be stopped and searched in the first place. That was the issue of this particular hearing.

      • Wayne Deja February 28, 2014 at 10:29 am #

        Benett….maybe I’m mistaken,but didn’t it say he was driving 45 MPH,and nervous with Law Enforcement behind him ?……was this stop made on HWY 395 ?….and ,if so,if someone is driving 45 MPH..on HWY 395..and,if nervous with a patrol car behind him,probably looking in his mirror,and maybe not staying in a straight line,that could be a reason for a stop and check if he might be driving drunk,or hiding something alone….and if the officer asked to search,couldn’t he have said no ?….in my own experiences,never a good idea to do that,almost like your hiding something,but within your rights…but seems would be a lot better arguement if he did in a court of law if he’s wanting to supress evidence of something illegal that was found in his vehicle and want it over-looked…as well as probably wanting to call in the cash-cow with a lawsuit….if that’s what he’s planning to do.I myself have been stopped for driving too slow…and even questioned about my sobriety,in fact just north outside of Independence.I don’t drink,so I wasn’t drunk….I had no loaded weapons in my vehicle,so I wasn’t arrested for that….and I brought up if he wanted to search my vehicle for drugs,he could…five minutes later,I was back on the highway and on my way to the Bishop vet with my sick Cocker Spaniol,Chloeno.

        • Benett Kessler February 28, 2014 at 11:11 am #

          Judge Magit found there was not probable cause to search Mr. Boulaalam’s vehicle. I was not in court, but from what I know about the case, it was apparent that the officers, though they said they thought he might be under the influence, did not pursue that idea when they stopped him. Apparently, with no basis for the stop, they should have allowed him to go on his way. Again, it was the Judge’s decision. Neither you nor I have the legal expertise to second-guess that.

        • Snowman February 28, 2014 at 11:25 am #

          Wayne, you should not be so quick to give up your Constitutional Rights (4th Amendment) that many brave men have fought and died for you to have.

          You are conditioning yourself to be a good little sheeple who will not stand up to wrongdoing by the government.

          • Wayne Deja February 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

            .Snowman…written WAY back in something like 1779….long before the days of people transporting illegal drugs, caches of firearms,stolen property,and putting peoples lives in danger,mainly Law Enforcement’s lives, by doing so…here’s all I got left to say about this arrest….if this guy had obeyed the laws,and not been carrying a loaded weapon in his vehicle,he wouldn’t have been arrested and jailed….and had his life turned upside-down…and it ain’t done yet… paying for lawyers,trials,all because he felt he was above the law by carrying a concealed LOADED weapon in his truck or car…no one to blame but himself.If it does go on to a cash-cow lawsuit,I only hope it doesn’t cost the taxpayers too much $$$ because o HIS own stupidity.

          • Benett Kessler February 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

            Wayne, you have missed the point of law that officers can not search whenever they want to. That is one of our constitutional rights. That is the point of this case. There must be probable cause. Neither your nor I were there, but evidence before Judge Magit convinced him that the deputies made a legal mistake. What happens after that becomes irrelevant. Benett Kessler

          • Pedro February 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

            Wayne, if the officers had done their job professionally, they would have made a good arrest. Luckily, this guy doesn’t seem to be OJ Simpson.

          • Snowman February 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

            Wayne, what you are saying is Deja Vu all over again.

            If this was 1776 you would have been a loyal subject to King George until the bitter end, not a Patriot who fought search without a warrant and seizure of their firearms by the government. The result of this fight was the Bill of Rights that gave Judge Magit the legal justification to rule the stop and the search by the deputies illegal.

            Because they are law enforcement officers acting under the color of authority, they can be sued in Federal Court under USC 1983.

            Wayne, never give up your rights that were secured with the blood of American Patriots whose sacrifice resulted in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that protect us from government oppression today.

        • Laughing out Loud February 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

          Wayne you seem to want to write the next “Supplemental Report” for them, maybe you should. You have just about as much credibility as they do. LOL

        • Rick O'Brien March 1, 2014 at 5:01 am #

          WAYNE…plain and simple, the good guys have to play by the rules, .Otherwise…they’re not the good guys anymore.

          • Snowman March 2, 2014 at 1:53 am #

            Excellent Big Rick!!

            Even Wayne should be able to understand that!

        • sugar magnolia March 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

          Wayne, check out this link, especially the slide show on people killed by the ‘war on drugs’.

          It drives home the point of how important it is for our LEO to toe the line. Come on dude, love our country…support the well thought out safeguards our forefather’s so carefully crafted to create our wonderful, successful country. I’ll coin a phrase from way back ‘ America, love it or leave it’. IF you don’t like the america our forefathers envisioned and worked so hard to protect, move on man…no-one is stopping you from moving to Russia where you can be stopped by LEO all you want.

          I love America enough to stand up against out of control LEO. I want to respect LEO….I want my kids to respect LEO…..we can’t do that if they are trampling all over the great constitution of the US.

          • Wayne Deja March 2, 2014 at 10:28 am #

            sugar magnolia…..I’m not gonna say anything more about this case,other than replying to one of your sentences’ in your above post you made…stating “the America our forefathers envisioned” back from 1776 thru 1789…..something tells me the world,or America today isn’t what they saw coming back 225+ years ago….as far as the marijuana overdose and deaths,no one ever said marijuana kills people…O.K..I get it.. habitual marijuana use is good for people… cures deadly diseases….not only that,it prevents them…those with asthma….those big,deep bong hits are good for their lungs…when driving,your more aware of things going on around you,and a better defensive driver when your high on pot….when in school or studying,you do better if your stoned much of the time.and a much better chance at a career..and later in life,your a better husband or wife…and father to your spouse and children if your using,buying or growing weed…vacations with your family are much more fun….and then,as you grow older,your children can follow in your footsteps… when you reach the age of 50 +,your gonna be healthier,happier,and the aging process will reflect your life choices….looking and acting much younger after a lifetime of marijuana use than those that chose not to indulge.None of us will see it,but 100 years from now,if marijuana is legalized nationwide in the near future,the Country and the World will be a better place for all…no more alcohol or harder drug abuse,because we all know those that smoke pot don’t drink or use harder drugs…no more crime,the cartels will fade away…the prisons will be empty…no more diseases that kill people.People will be healthier…happier…it will be a great place for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren..too bad we won’t be around to see it.

          • Mongo The Idiot March 2, 2014 at 11:14 am #

            Oh my Gosh Sugar,
            I looked that that horrible sideshow.

      • Snowman February 28, 2014 at 11:19 am #

        Right on Benett! This is a classic “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” case.

        This a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally and it therefore cannot be used in court.

    • Lone ranger February 28, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Wayne, your right about the loaded weapon issue! It is against the law to have a concealed weapon in your vehicle!

      However, probable cause for the stop was shady at best! No effort to even conduct field sobriety evaluation existed! Come on, then to produce a supplemental report stating your probable cause after the initial report!

      Remember he was arrested for a felony! Funny it’s only a misdemeanor! But he was booked into mono county jail! This means he was strip searched! This is also a violation!

      Funny how the charges were changed after he had to bail out!

      Even if deputy Art Torres and sgt Hahn did the traffic stop correctly! The man should not have been arrested! Cite and release, weapons taken as evidence!

      Looks like the working backward approach back fired!

      By the way, every correctly written report starts with the probable cause for the stop!

      And every report is reviewed by the watch commander and approved!

      Looks to me like everyone in the chain of command should be under IA internal affairs at this point!

    • Gistine February 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      Are you serious? Do you have any idea how clogged the system is and any idea of how the adversarial system works? If it were that easy to sue, everyone would be doing it. Litigation is not for the faint of heart, dude, and most people go out of their way to avoid it-at least those who have any integrity or a soul. I believe Boulaalam because his story is the only one that made sense. Obviously the judge took that into consideration. Moreover, the Plaintiff has the burden of proof, by the way, which is far more difficult than it is to have some defense attorney poke holes in his testimony, assassinate his character, and create reasonable doubt. Just because he has a solid case, doesn’t mean he will get “$$$$.” Sorry, but his loaded gun without a CCW pales in comparison to what preempted this whole case. It sounds to me like the poor judgement lies not on Boulaalam, but the deputies who were seemingly looking for trouble. Kudos to Judge Magit for his due diligence.

  5. Eastern Sierra Local February 28, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Big surprise! Local law enforcement stopping someone on trumped up charges only to turn around and prosecute for another reason….Amen to what “Trouble” said.

  6. BobK February 28, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Wayne: You’re usually smarter that. You are the one trying to throw politics into this. This is all about probable cause to be stopped and searched….But nice try anyway.

  7. Wayne Deja February 28, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    BobK…..”Wayne;You’re usually smarter than that”……Thank You,but I have to admit,the first time anyone has ever said that to me….ever…about anything…on this site,or any other….ever…As far as the probable cause issue,please see my responce to Benett’s comment above….and the politics comment I made,lots of times,whenever a firearm is mentioned,or an arrest made due to an illegal firearm,or carrying a firearm illegally,most of the time,in this day and age,someone always says it’s just a rouge for someone to say a way for the Government to try to take away peoples rights to own a weapon…and a way to take their guns away….maybe I should have waited for someone to say that before I said what I did….I’m bored today….waiting on fishing season opening day and a 4 A.M. appointment at the local creek and a spot I found that looks promising.

  8. Vote Mono February 28, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I say is this is the perfect example of why a new sheriff should be voted in!

    • Rick O'Brien February 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      I concur…it’s ANOTHER huge nail in the coffin for the Obie Administration. BYE BYE!

  9. I Love To Fish March 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    I know what lady I’m voting for in June!!

  10. Concerned Local March 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    Just to clarify for everyone probable cause is not needed to make a traffic stop.

    • Legal Eagle March 2, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Try Reasonable Suspicion. They did not have that either.

    • Pedro March 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Reasonable suspicion that can be articulated is needed for traffic stop. Probable cause, or consent, is required for search. Judge may have thought the “reasonable suspicion” was weak ruse to justify stop and search as officers did not pursue DUI investigation.
      Never consent to searches, especially if you are innocent. There is no upside. No telling what Aunt Bea is packing in that handbag she forgot in your car.


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