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Name: People v. Durazo
Case #: B173901
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/02/2004
Summary

A college student reported to police that unknown Mexican gang members were threatening him. Several days later, police officers observed two young Hispanic men near the student’s apartment building and followed their car. Although the car did nothing to justify a traffic stop, the officers had a “gut feeling” that the car’s occupants had been involved in the threats to the victim. The officers stopped the car, and found a loaded weapon in the car. Appellant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and his motion to suppress the gun as the product of an unlawful detention was denied. The appellate court here reversed the denial of the suppression motion. The “gut feeling” lacked the requisite objective showing to justify the detention. No crime had occurred near the time of the stop. The only facts which distinguished the case in the officer’s mind was the ethnicity of the vehicle’s occupants, and the manner in which they looked at the apartment building as they drove by. An objectively reasonable officer would have known that insufficient facts existed to warrant a traffic stop.