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Name: People v. Lamont
Case #: G032369
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/28/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. gr. 3/30/05: S131308

A passenger in a vehicle that is stopped without reasonable suspicion may challenge the unlawful stop under the Fourth Amendment. When the defendant moved to suppress evidence prior to trial, the trial court found that he could not bring the motion because as a passenger he was not detained. The Court of Appeal reversed, partially disavowing its prior holding in People v. Cartright (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th, in which it had held that a passenger has no expectation of privacy and thus may not challenge an unlawful traffic stop. In the instant case, the court held that a…

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Name: People v. Durazo
Case #: B173901
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/02/2004

A college student reported to police that unknown Mexican gang members were threatening him. Several days later, police officers observed two young Hispanic men near the student's apartment building and followed their car. Although the car did nothing to justify a traffic stop, the officers had a "gut feeling" that the car's occupants had been involved in the threats to the victim. The officers stopped the car, and found a loaded weapon in the car. Appellant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and his motion to suppress the gun as the…

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Name: United States v. Smith
Case #: 04-50046
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 11/23/2004

Appellant challenged the search and seizure of counterfeit money from his vehicle. The vehicle was stopped originally for speeding. When appellant stated that he did not have any identification with him, he was asked to get out of his car and walk to the patrol car. When officers questioned him regarding his identity, appellant gave them information which did not match information received from the CHP. Officers searched the vehicle, finding a fake driver's license, and an actual identification card issued in appellant's real name, which was not the name he had given to officers. …

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Name: United States v. Cortez-Rocha
Case #: 03-50491
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/21/2004

A search of a defendant’s spare tire at a border was not a "particularly offensive" search requiring reasonable suspicion. After a search dog had alerted them to the presence of drugs , customs inspectors cut open the defendant’s spare tire and found several bricks of marijuana. The Ninth Circuit found that the search fell squarely under the ruling in United States v. Flores-Montano (2004) 1245 S.Ct. 1582, in which the Supreme Court held that border patrol agents did not require reasonable suspicion to disassemble a gas tank during a routine border search. The defendant argued that the…

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Name: People v. Wells
Case #: F043125
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/10/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 12/15/04: S128640

Officers had reasonable suspicion to stop appellant's van where officers received a dispatch report of an 80s model blue van "weaving all over the roadway," driving northbound on Highway 99, and appellant was seen driving a blue van in the correct traveling direction and position a short time later, even though the officer who received the dispatch saw no erratic driving. Under the totality of the circumstances, the anonymous tip was sufficiently reliable to justify the investigatory stop of the van to determine whether appellant was impaired. However the court noted that the "paucity of details regarding the…

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Name: People v. Hester
Case #: F034897
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/10/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 9/22/04

Where an automotive stop is not supported by reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, the fact that three of the car's occupants were on searchable probation will not justify the detention if officers were not aware of the search conditions at the time. Following transfer from the California Supreme Court with directions to reconsider the case in light of Maryland v. Pringle (2003) 124 S.Ct. 795 and People v. Sanders (2003) 31 Cal.4th 318, the Court of Appeal found that those two authorities supported the court’s original order reversing the denial of the motion to suppress. …

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Name: United States v. Miguel
Case #: 03-10218
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/27/2004

Miguel and her uncle were pulled over on a hot summer day by sheriff's deputies who may have mistakenly believed that the vehicle's registration had expired. Deputies found a group of five Mexican children and young adults in the car, being smuggled into the country. One of the children was unconscious. Appellants pleaded guilty to transporting illegal aliens and placing in jeopardy the lives of illegal aliens. On appeal, appellants challenged the legality of the stop. The appellate court here affirmed. If the deputies were mistaken about the vehicle's registration, their mistake was one…

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Name: People v. McHugh
Case #: D042148
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/07/2004

Appellant was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for driving under the influence. Appellant claimed he was denied the opportunity to submit to a breathalyzer test, and a certified phlebotomist drew appellant's blood, which tested at .18 for alcohol. The phlebotomist was not authorized to draw blood for this purpose, under Vehicle Code section 23158, and the police department had already been advised that they did not comply. Appellant moved to suppress the results of the blood alcohol test, arguing that the stop of the car was unreasonable, the blood draw was unreasonable because he was denied…

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Name: Thornton v. United States
Case #: Mar-65
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 05/24/2004

Before the arresting officer could pull over petitioner's car, petitioner parked and got out of the car. The officer found drugs in petitioner's pocket and arrested him. Incident to the arrest, he searched petitioner's car and found a handgun under the seat. The District court found the search valid under New York v. Belton. Petitioner appealed, arguing that Belton was limited to situations where the officer initiated contact with an arrestee while he was still in the car. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, and in this opinion, The United States Supreme Court affirmed that opinion. …

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Name: United States v. Flores-Montano
Case #: 02-1794
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 03/30/2004

Customs officials seized 37 kilos of marijuana from Flores-Montano's gas tank at the international border in southern California. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the grant of Flores-Montano's suppression motion, holding that the Fourth Amendment forbids a fuel tank search absent reasonable suspicion. Here, the United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that the search did not require reasonable suspicion. The decision relied on by the Ninth Circuit employed a balancing test in regard to "routine" searches. Complex balancing tests to determine what is "routine" and what is "intrusive" have no place in border searches of vehicles. The…

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