Police illegally searched suspect for gun, court rulesby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday reversed the 2010 conviction of a felon caught with a handgun.
Theng Yang was in his front yard when St. Paul police officers stopped and searched him and found the weapon. According to the court opinion, the officers were responding to an emergency call about a person with a gun. Yang matched the description of the suspect and was later convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Yang's attorney, Tara Duginske, says the court of appeals ruled that the officers' search was illegal, therefore making the discovery of the gun unusable.
"What they were reversing was the District Court's decision to deny Yang's motion to suppress the gun," she said. "In District Court he made a motion to suppress the gun on the grounds that there was not reasonable suspicion to conduct the stop."
State prosecutors could ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the decision. If it is not overturned, then Duginske says the conviction will be erased from Yang's record.
A statement from Ramsey County Attorney John J. Choi read, "While we always respect the decision of the Court of Appeals, I am sincerely concerned about the implications to law enforcement's ability to protect the public from convicted felons who carry guns. By law, convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms anywhere. This is an important prohibition that needs to be enforced within the confines of constitutional rights.
"We are in the process of reviewing the decision and considering our appellate and legislative options."