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Name: People v. Rodriguez
Case #: B186661
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 10/10/2006

Police officers stopped appellant’s car allegedly because of a burnt out brake light. There was no traffic citation, but officers ran a warrant check and found an outstanding warrant for appellant. During a search incident to arrest on the warrant, officers found methamphetamine. At the hearing on the suppression motion, appellant’s employer stated that when he picked up the car from impound, the brake lights and tail lights were operational. The trial court ruled it didn’t need to decide whether the police fabricated their testimony concerning the brake light because any taint arising from the unlawful stop would have been dissipated by the discovery of the arrest warrant prior to the search. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine after his suppression motion was denied. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new suppression hearing, finding if the evidence was obtained through an unlawful traffic stop, it should have been suppressed. “If it indeed happened, fabricating the grounds for a traffic stop and repeating this fabrication under oath at a suppression hearing strikes at the very core of our system of law.” Suppression of the evidence is not too drastic a remedy.