In June 2014, Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock awakened to find a stranger in her house. She called 911, telling the operator that she had locked herself in her bedroom closet to protect herself from the intruder. The man was arrested by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department at the scene.
Police say that he was carrying pictures of her and a letter in which he referred to himself as Bullock's husband "by law, the law of God." He wasn't armed, but was carrying a permit for a concealed weapon issued in Utah. Security footage at Bullock's home allegedly showed that he had been there in the nights leading up to his arrest.
Weapons Were Obtained Without Search Warrant
Because the actress obtained a protection order against the man, police say they informed him that they would need to confiscate his weapons. They say he gave verbal consent to search his home, where they found over 30 weapons. He was charged with illegal possession of machine guns as well as stalking and burglary.
A Los Angeles judge has now ruled in favor of the defendant after his attorney argued that detectives never obtained a search warrant. He said that his client was kept in custody for hours without access to an attorney, even though he repeatedly requested one.
Attorney: Defendant Was Coerced into Giving Consent
His attorney also argued that the man felt coerced into allowing detectives to search his home. He also provided them with the combination to his safe, where he kept the guns. The man's attorney said that he needs psychological treatment rather than incarceration. He has been behind bars since his arrest. He reportedly told detectives that he realized what he did was wrong, but that he never intended to harm the actress.
Prosecutors, who argued that the LAPD would have eventually found the guns, have yet to announce whether they'll appeal the ruling. If the 24 weapons charges are dismissed, that will leave only the burglary and stalking charges.
Criminal defense attorneys can work to ensure that a defendant's rights are protected throughout the legal process. If there was a violation of those rights at any point, they can work to get evidence excluded that wasn't properly obtained.
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