Can I file for a Motion to Suppress information in a criminal defense case? 45 Answers as of June 25, 2013

Is there such a thing as motion to suppress background information from becoming public in a criminal case?

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Law Office of Daniel K Martin
Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
There isn't a motion that goes by that name however the idea is covered in something called In Limine motions. These are motions that are submitted and argued at the beginning of trial before the jury is picked. Generally prior criminal history is inadmissible because it is highly prejudicial. There are exceptions. You need to discuss this issue with your lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/3/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I would recommend privately consulting with an attorney if you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. This answer does not contain specific legal advice. The key issue is whether the evidence is relevant and admissible for the purposes of the case and whether the evidence was obtained and secured in a legal manner. A motion to suppress is usually the best mechanism to prohibit the admissibility of evidence prior to proceeding to a trial.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/12/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
Motions to Suppress are generaly for physical evidence but I know of nothing to prevent you from trying to suppress it but if the information is correct the motion will probably be denied. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/7/2011
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
Generally, the background of the defendant is not admissible at trial. If the defendant testifies at trial, only felonies or misdemeanor crimes of deceit can be used to impeach testimony. Usually if this issue is not clear, the defense attorney can file a "motion in limine" to limit the use of this evidence at trial. It's best to obtain a competent criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction to assist you in this regard.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/27/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
I think you are referring a Motion for Non-Dsiclousre and it is available only after the case is disposed and if you were NOT convicted - ie case dismissed or you were put on deferred. You cannot stop public information from being made available during the pendency of the case.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/26/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    Yes. Prior bad acts are inadmissable (w/ certain exceptions).
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/25/2013
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean...However, anything that comes out in pretrial motions or trial is a matter of public record. If the information needs to stay private for some compelling reason (other than just embarrassment) then these reasons should be raised before the testimony is presented. There is always a chance that the judge will agree to clear the courtroom or hear the evidence in chambers, off the public record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
    A motion to suppress generally keeps evidence from being read by the jury or fact-finder, not the public. The information you put in the motion could become public. One possibility is file something "under seal," so that only the judge considers it. You should discuss this with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    While your question is a bit vague, there is no way to suppress evidence that is otherwise relevant and legally admissible in a criminal case. Once it is introduced it is public record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    It is not clear what you mean my background information. As a general rule, information in the court file is public information and generally not suppressed. If you think you have a good reason to keep the information non-public, you could ask the court for such an order through a motion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is possible to file a Motion to seal certain records in a case. However, they cannot be suppressed if relevant as evidence to a criminal conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    A motion to suppress evidence is based on an illegal search. I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking if you can seal your record? If you are an adult, there is no way to "seal" your record unless you were not convicted and are then found to be factually innocent by a judge. If you have a conviction and have successfully completed probation, you can seek to have it dismissed under Penal Code 1203.4 (commonly called an expungement), but it won't erase it from your record, just put a notation that it was subsequently dismissed. If granted, that dismissal allows you to tell most private employers that you have not been convicted of a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Unless you went to law school you should not file motions, write letters to the judge, or try to do anything to help your case except to retain a good criminal attorney and tell him all the facts and circumstances of your case. He will either plead you guilty to the best offer or make motions and proceed to trial. Why would you ask an attorney who knows nothing about your case about motions. Why not ask your public defender how he plans to proceed? If there is anything that will look bad at trial he will move to suppress it and the court will rule on the law as to whether it is more probative than prejudicial and whether it is admissible or excluded due to some violation of your constitutional rights. The other thing you might want to do is to work hard, study hard, get a good job, learn communication and people skills, and keep from getting arrested by making good decisions.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Well ... What is your relationship to the case? Are you the defendant, the complainant or a witness? if you're the defendant then your lawyer should make what's called a motion in limine. If you are the complainant or a witness then it's up to you to object or hire a lawyer to object for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    No. There is a Motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence to be filed prior to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If your case goes to trial, your attorney can file a motion in limine to ask the court to prevent the prosecutor from bringing your past history before the jury. A motion to suppress is a pretrial motion to have the judge determine the admissibility of evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/23/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    No. That would be a motion in limine at trial. In other words, the limine motion would ask the judge to rule that they cannot discuss prior bad acts in front of the jury. However, if you take the stand they will always be allowed to bring up prior convictions for "impeachment" purposes.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    There is no such thing as a "motion to suppress information." You cannot file a motion to suppress yourself, your attorney will do that for you unless you are representing yourself which may cause you to have a lot of problems. The motion will be part of the court file and if someone pulls the case they can view its contents.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You can make a motion to seal the court file, but that is only granted in extraordinary circumstances, and not usually to protect background information from being let out.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    It's not a motion to suppress but a motion to seal.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    What you are referring to is suppression of evidence against you, the Defendant, in a pending case. You usually have 45 days from the date of arraignment (entering a plea of not guilty in the case) to file all motions. However, many courts allow you more time if the situation warrants it. As for suppressing "background information" I know of no such Motion. Speak to your attorney about the matter.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Sure, you can file a motion to suppress. It is up to the judge to determine whether or not your motion will be granted.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    It is possible. You can ask that sensitive background material be "sealed from public view." This may not include prior criminal history, however.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Your question is an example of why you should not be in court without counsel. There are rules of evidence which govern the admissibility of reputation evidence and prior criminal history and unfortunately, it's not a simple yes or no answer. Like everything else in law, it depends on other factors. The judge will expect you to know the rules of evidence and will not make exceptions for you because you aren't a lawyer. You can read the rules of evidence or hire an attorney, but either way, do not count on the court giving you a break because you didn't know.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Absolutely. You can expunge charges that were dismissed, no billed, or found not guilty. And you may seal records using a Petition for Non-Disclosure if you successfully completed deferred adjudication probation.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    There is such a thing as a motion to suppress. The court usually will take up such a motion prior to the trial.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Motions to Suppress in a criminal case normally involve an effort on the part of the defense to suppress evidence that was discovered/seized by law enforcement before, during, or after the arrest of the defendant and in a manner that allegedly failed to comport with the requirements of the law at that time. This usually means that it was secured without the benefit of a proper warrant from a judge. This kind of motion does not normally involve the suppression of background information related to the defendant which could actually be relevant to the case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Stevens Law Office, PLC
    Stevens Law Office, PLC | Ryan Stevens
    It is possible to move to suppress irrelevant or character evidence in addition to many other types of evidence in criminal cases. I strongly recommend that you retain an attorney to assist you with your case especially if you intend to seek the suppression of evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    No. Any court case is public in the U.S. unless it is an in camera proceeding or otherwise ordered to be behind closed doors. Motions to suppress are motions that are brought upon the grounds that the search or detention is unconstitutional. Sometimes if a case is dismissed you can bring a motion to seal the police report if it is found there was no probable cause for the arrest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It really depends on the type of information. If it relates to the case and is relevant it will likely be introduced.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/23/2013
    Peter Duarte, Attorney at Law
    Peter Duarte, Attorney at Law | Peter Duarte
    A motion to suppress evidence, filed by the defendant is used to prevent evidence that was obtained through anillegal search by the police. If the motion is granted by the the court, theevidence seized the by the police can not be used against you in court. Back ground info. on the defendant can only be used ifrelevant to thecase, and depending what info.you don't want disclosed, you may have specific grounds under the rules of evidence, i.e. attorney client privilege , patient/doctor privilege .
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No. Unless what you are talking about is suppressing a witness' background information to a jury as being unduly prejudicial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    What do you mean by background information? Certain things cannot be used, unless you put them into issue. Otherwise, your thinking of something completely different. A suppression motion is normally used for Search/Seizure issues. If you have an attorney, speak with them about your concerns. If you don't have one, then given the nature of your question, you should seriously consider getting one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by background information. Usually information from criminal cases is made public unless it involves minor children or juveniles or some other sensitive information such as trade secrets, etc. If you have any questions you can consult with your attorney on the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Possibly, but there is not enough information from you to understand what you are asking.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 6/21/2013
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    Courtrooms are generally an open forum. If you have a specific reason you would like to have your matter be conducted in a closed courtroom you can file a request with the Judge and outline your reasons for your request. A motion to suppress ussually deals with requesting certain information not be used against you in your criminal proceeding due to either the police obtaining it in violation of the law or if you made statements without knowing your rights. I would suggest you contact an attorney if you were charged with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    I'm not sure what you mean. Prior bad acts are typically not admissible. However, court hearings are public and anyone can obtain a transcript of the proceedings. This policy is essential to the openness of government. Secret court proceedings would be unconstitutional as far as criminal cases go. The only exception has to do with the identity of a child victim. And yes, anyone can file a motion to suppress anything but there are no guarantees a court will grant the motion.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You would be referring to a motion to seal the court file. There could also be a motion in line to prevent the prosecutor from using such information in their case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    A Motion to Suppress is used to keep evidence from coming in to a court proceeding that was wrongfully obtained. Your question is whether you can block your criminal history from becoming public. The Court, the prosecution and your attorney are all allowed at some point in the proceeding to see your criminal history. There is nothing that will keep that from coming in. However, your criminal history will never become public. You have a right to privacy on those matters. It is possible for someone to go through the public records and determine what you were arrested for, but that is not the same as your criminal history.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Motions to suppress evidence can be made where law enforcement officials have illegally obtained evidence. The motions are personal. That means it has to be your rights that were violated, not some one elses. Background information would not normally fall into this category. It may be that some on is attempting to obtan information by way of a subpoena. Most likely based on your post. If it is the defendant or his attorney, ask the DA to file a motion to quash. If it is the DA , you will probably have to hire your own attorney to file such a motion. The court will have a hearing. If the information is both relevant and material, the information will come in at trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Burdon and Merlitti
    Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
    A motion to suppress is designed to suppress evidence that was illegally seized by police not to suppress certain information from becoming public. You can file a motion to introduce information/evidence under seal, which would allow the court and parties to view the information but would not make the information public unless the court unsealed the information. Without knowing more about the nature of the evidence you want to keep secret/private, it is hard to give you a definitive answer. You should consult with an attorney about the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes your lawyer can make such a motion.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/21/2013
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    No, file a motion under rule 609 of the Tennessee rules of evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 6/21/2013
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    It depends on what background information you are seeking to suppress. If you are talking about prior criminal history, then that is covered in a Sandoval motion but it's not usually decided until the eve of trial. FYI - the prosecutor, except in rare circumstances, usually can not introduce evidence of past crimes in their case in chief. The Sandoval hearing is to determine what questions they may ask about your criminal history should you choose to testify on your own behalf. If there is some other background information you are referring to then you need to clarify.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/22/2011
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