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Man arrested after Pittsburgh police respond to fight call

Readers may be surprised to learn that Pittsburgh police arrested a local man on suspicion of marijuana dealing based on evidence they gathered while visiting his home on an unrelated matter. As a result of a pair of police searches of his home, the man was arrested on Oct. 8 on a variety of serious drug charges.

The arresting officers originally came to the suspect's home based on a 911 call reporting that a fight may have been going on at the North Side home the evening of Oct. 7. When the officers knocked on the door, a woman answered who was reportedly bleeding from her mouth. She told the officers she had fallen down, though a witness later said the suspect had pushed her down the stairs.

The officers entered the home and conducted a search. They claimed they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in a bedroom. Based on that evidence, they obtained a search warrant and returned, allegedly finding equipment for growing marijuana, 20 pounds of marijuana and cash. They arrested the suspect, 30, on suspicion of manufacturing drugs, drug possession and conspiracy, among other charges. The woman at the house may also be arrested.

One question a defense attorney may ask in situations like this is whether the original search of the home was properly conducted. The Fifth Amendment generally prohibits unreasonable searches and seizure, except in certain cases. If the search were found to be unreasonable, the evidence from both searches could be suppressed. The search warrant requirement is important to prevent random searches of people's homes by police.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Domestic dispute uncovers pot operation," Oct. 9, 2012

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