MA: Trial court suppression of confession on tape was clearly erroneous; with PC to arrest, def’s clothing could be seized and forensically tested

The trial court’s order suppressing defendant’s confession and the subsequent search of his clothing is reversed as clearly erroneous. Defendant’s arrest was with probable cause, and that allowed seizure and forensic testing of his clothing. Commonwealth v. Tremblay, 2017 Mass. App. LEXIS 130 (Sept. 25, 2017):

No search warrant was required if the police had probable cause to arrest the defendant for the murder of the victim. See Commonwealth v. Santiago, 410 Mass. 737, 742-743 (1991). Under those circumstances, the police could have seized and tested the defendant’s clothing pursuant to a search incident to a valid arrest. See Commonwealth v. Robles, 423 Mass. 62, 65-66 (1996). See also United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800, 806 (1974) (police may seize clothing worn at time of arrest when it becomes apparent that clothing may contain evidence). When seizing a defendant’s clothing incident to an arrest, the police need only establish that the clothing contained evidence connected to the crime. See Commonwealth v. Robles, supra. Because we determine that the defendant’s statements were obtained in compliance with Miranda v. Arizona, supra, and were made voluntarily, the police had probable cause to arrest him for murder. Thus, the police were authorized to seize and subsequently test his clothing. See Commonwealth v. Robles, supra at 65 n.8 & 67-68, and cases cited.

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