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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: S150038
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/11/2008

Where an officer’s sole reason for stopping a vehicle is based on viewing a temporary operating permit on the vehicle, the stop is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, regardless of the officer’s hunch that such permits are often forged, issued to different vehicles, or suggest that the vehicle may be stolen. Here, the officer observed a vehicle with no license plates but with a temporary permit in the rear window, and stopped and detained appellant. When appellant refused to get out of the car, the officer sprayed him with pepper spray, and he and his partner pulled appellant out of the vehicle, handcuffed him and arrested him for resisting arrest, being under the influence of methamphetamine, and driving under the influence. At the suppression hearing the officer testified that although he saw no violations, he discounted the apparently valid permit because in his experience such permits are often forged, issued for a different vehicle, or the vehicle itself is stolen. Observing that the officer could point to no articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion that appellant may have been acting illegally, the Court noted that the officer’s hunch alone was insufficient to justify the stop.