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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: C051224
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/18/2006
Subsequent History: review granted 3/21/07 S150038

A detention is reasonable under the 4th Amendment when the officer can point to specific articulable facts, that under the totality of the circumstances provide objective manifestation that the detainee is involved in criminal activity. (Terry v. Ohio (1968) 392 U.S. 1.) Traffic stops are investigatory detentions. In this case, at 4 p.m. in January, the officer observed appellant driving a truck without license plates but with a facially valid, properly displayed temporary operating permit. There was no indication that the truck was stolen or that the permit did not go with the truck. Nevertheless, the officer pulled it over because permits are “very often” forged. Distinguishing People v. Saunders (2006) 38 Cal.4th 1129, where the vehicle was missing a front license plate so as to otherwise justify the stop, the court found that there were no other facts to justify a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Although the officer’s training and experience generally can be considered to determine if there is reasonable suspicion of a crime, in this case, the court could not determine the meaning of the statement “very often,” because the officer did not quantify it. Judgment reversed with direction to suppress the evidence.