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Name: People v. Sandoval
Case #: C055671
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/23/2008

A patdown search was unlawful where officers had no suspicion that appellant was armed or involved in criminal activity. Sandoval was sitting on the top step of the stairs of a residence when police officers went to the residence to conduct a probation search. Officers recognized him as a prior roommate of the probationer, and knew that he had prior arrests for methamphetamine possession. The officers handcuffed Sandoval and conducted a patdown search. The officer had no reason to believe that Sandoval was armed or committing a crime. During the patdown search, the officer felt an object that might have been a folding knife. The officers reached into the pocket and pulled out a stun gun. After finding the weapon, officers continued their search and found a baggie of methamphetamine. On appeal, Sandoval argued that the patdown search was unlawful. The appellate court agreed and reversed the judgment. The officer did not testify he thought Sandoval was armed or dangerous, or that he thought that Sandoval was involved in any criminal activity. The fact that he was located in front of a house where narcotics were thought to be is insufficient to justify a patdown search.