Skip to content
Name: United States v. Al Nasser
Case #: 05-10466
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/20/2007

The trial court’s denial of a suppression motion was proper where police were not responsible for stopping the vehicle, and therefore there was no “stop” for purposes of Fourth Amendment analysis. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s denial of a suppression motion following a jury conviction of knowingly transporting an illegal alien. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in concluding that Border Patrol agents did not bring about the defendant’s decision to stop his vehicle, where the district court chose between the Border Patrol agents’ testimony (that they did nothing to stop the defendant) and a tribal officer’s testimony (that he thought he heard one of the Border Patrol agents holler toward the vehicle to stop), neither being implausible; and where the defendant did not testify that he stopped because he was told or signaled to do so. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the police should be treated as having stopped someone, for Fourth Amendment purposes, if police could reasonably anticipate that someone would stop. It explained that there is no stop where any restraint on the defendant’s freedom of movement was not because of police efforts to so restrain. The court concluded that there was no stop here, where the defendant stopped his vehicle despite the officers’ decision to let him pass because their hands were full. Dissenting from the affirmance of the denial of the suppression motion, Judge Ferguson wrote that taking into account all of the circumstances surrounding the encounter in this case, the police conduct would have communicated to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty to ignore the police presence and go about his business.