In this case the Appellate Division considered whether it the Supreme Court appropriately granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss drug and traffic charges based on an arrest by Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority officers.
Two officers of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority were on patrol in one of that city’s housing projects when they observed the defendant driving without a seatbelt. Even though the scope of employment of those officers did not extend to the area where they stopped and questioned the defendant, the officers did so anyway. Under New York law, officers of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority are classified as peace officers. They found that the defendant was in possession of cocaine and arrested him. The defendant was indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and several violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
The defendant moved to have the charges dismissed on the basis that the arrest of the defendant occurred outside of the officers’ geographical area of employment. As a result, the officers lacked jurisdiction to make the arrest. The People countered by arguing that if the officers were acting outside of their jurisdictional authority, the arrest was still valid because the officers made a citizen’s arrest. The Supreme Court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the charges. The People appealed.