Can Police stake out private underground parking with no warrant? 3 Answers as of June 16, 2011

I was just arrested in the underground parking of the condo I live in. Here are the details: I have a record for trafficking 1 gram of marijuana 5 years ago. Police assume I am still a seller to this day, claim they observed me do a "hand to hand with an unknown person" on a street they were surveying, followed me home and noted where I parked. What they did was wait a few hours in the underground for me come back to my car, parking in other tenants' spots throughout the underground, as soon as I turned the key they boxed me in, ran up to my car and told me to get out or they would blow my head off. Cuffed me right away, found a piece of weed in the car, got a warrant based on the hand to hand and are lying, saying I told them there is more in my condo. They then went in and planted evidence. Is this legal?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Can they stake out, yes. Is planting evidence illegal, absolutely. Not to mention, I find it oddly convenient when the officer claims a defendant admitted to more dope in another location. Cops in Dallas and the surrounding areas all have audio mikes and video equipment in their cars, any admission you made may be suppressed if in violation of Miranda (this is another analysis) and if there was no admission (tape should verify this fact, though cops have an odd way of "forgetting to turn on the equipment" when the tape will prove they lied about something - so there may be a spoilation issue as well. Bottom line, you need a lawyer and you need one now.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/16/2011
The Law Offices of Greg Gray
The Law Offices of Greg Gray | Greg Gray
Your question "is this legal?" does not have a short answer. Yes, they can be in the parking lot because it is a "common area" in which you do not have an expectation of privacy. This may not be the case if it is a access card only parking lot, which would make it an interesting question. As for the arrest, they can arrest you if the warrant is good and they had the right to be in the parking lot. There will need to be a valid probable cause affidavit supporting the warrant, which will be for an attorney to review. Unless they had a search warrant to enter the condo, or you gave them consent, the apartment is off limits.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/13/2011
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
Officers can sit in a place that is open to the public. Moreover, if they have a warrant, they can wait until you return and make a strategic decision on when to execute the warrant. (You assert that they parked from spot to spot - how do you know this? Were you watching them watch you? If so, why would you have weed with you?) If the officers claim they observed a drug deal, then they may have been able to get a warrant (just depends on all the facts they included.) If they lied, then you will have to show that - or at least that they have no credibility. This may be able to be done by obtaining the officers' internal affairs records (which your lawyer will have to do.) The same goes with the drugs that you claim were planted. I will say that it is difficult to believe that you had one drug related incident 5 years ago and that the police have nothing better to do but to sit around for hours waiting on you and then to spend time planting drugs on you for prosecution. My guess is that you are not giving nearly all the facts in your presentation.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/13/2011
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