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Name: People v. Brendlin
Case #: C040754
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/27/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 4/14/04: S123133

A passenger in a car stopped by law enforcement officers may challenge the legality of the stop under the Fourth Amendment. An officer stopped a car in which the defendant was a passenger based on the officer’s hunch that the temporary license permit in the window was invalid. As a result of the stop, the officer discovered that a warrant had been issued for the defendant’s arrest, and drugs were discovered in a subsequent search of the defendant and the car. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that he was not detained until he was arrested following discovery of the warrant, and that as a passenger he lacked standing to challenge the traffic stop. The Third District disagreed with the trial court and with three Court of Appeal opinions and held that a passenger may challenge the legality of a traffic stop because the passenger is asserting his or her own right to be free from searches or seizures. Furthermore, the detention in this case was unlawful because the facts were insufficient to support a reasonable suspicion justifying a temporary detention, and the search of the defendant was the fruit of that unlawful detention.