Skip to content
Name: U.S. v. Smith
Case #: 10-10036
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/03/2011

The flight of a subject from a police officer who, without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity called for him to stop, may provide the officer with the requisite reasonable suspicion to justify further investigation. When appellant crossed the street in front of a patrol car driven by Las Vegas Metropolitan Officer Dominguez, Dominguez activated the siren, pulled to the curb, stopped, exited, and called for appellant to stop and stand in front of the car. Appellant responded, “Who? Me?” or “What for?” He backed away and then turned and ran. Dominguez chased appellant and caught up with him when he tripped and fell. Dominguez handcuffed and searched appellant and found a handgun on him. The appellate court upheld the denial of a suppression motion. Appellant was not seized when he initially was directed to return to the patrol car, but was seized after he fled and was apprehended by Dominguez. If appellant had not fled, Dominguez would not have had reasonable suspicion to justify a seizure. However, under the attendant circumstances, the flight provided the reasonable suspicion to justify the seizure and search. Smith was in a high crime area. Dominguez clearly identified himself as a police officer. And the flight was seemingly for no other reason than to avoid Dominguez.