In a case in which officers approached a parked car in a parking lot and discovered that the owner (not appellant) was on probation and subject to a search condition, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred by denying one of appellant’s motions to suppress because, after searching appellant and finding nothing, the police prolonged his detention, without an independent articulable suspicion of criminal conduct, for an additional 23 minutes while the officer searched the driver’s car.
Victory Categories: Fourth Amendment
The Court of Appeal held that the search of appellant’s person and truck was neither supported by probable cause or subject to the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule where the sole justification for the search was an erroneous dispatch report that appellant was a convicted felon, but the prosecution presented insufficient evidence to show the error did not result from “deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct or recurring or systemic negligence.” In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeal rejected the A.G.’s attempt at burden shifting.
[Published Opinion] The Court of Appeal affirms the trial court’s suppression of evidence of a firearm found on appellant when he was patted down during a traffic stop, finding that the officer’s pat search was not supported by reasonable suspicion. The court explains that neither “knowledge of a suspect’s past arrests or convictions” nor “knowledge that a suspect is merely under investigation” is sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion.
The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion to suppress, holding that the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion to perform a traffic stop on appellant’s vehicle for failing to properly signal before making a right-hand turn.
In reviewing the denial of appellant’s motion to suppress, the Court of Appeal found that while the circumstances of the case may have supported a detention, they did not, either singularly or collectively, give rise to a reasonable suspicion that appellant was armed or dangerous. Here, appellant matched the description of a cell phone theft suspect, “appeared nervous” when speaking to the officer, “deceptively answered” the officer’s question, was wearing baggy clothing, and had a “relatively heavy” backpack. The Court of Appeal remanded the case and instructed the juvenile court to vacate its order denying the suppression motion, enter a new order granting the motion, and allow the minor to withdraw his plea.
The Court of Appeal held that the pat search of appellant was unreasonable because the officer who conducted the pat search did not present specific and articulable facts to support a reasonable suspicion that the minor was armed and dangerous. In so doing, the Court declined to recognize a rule that would essentially validate any pat search of a suspected robber who is lawfully detained following a report of a fresh robbery, regardless of the particular circumstances.
Court of Appeal reversed misdemeanor conviction for recent use of a controlled substance where it was barred by one year statute of limitations and reversed all fines and fees associated with that count.