Archive | reasonable suspicion

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

“Precipitous Pepper Purchase” Precludes Pot Pushers’ Partying

peppers

In today’s United States v. Compton, the Second Circuit (Walker, Raggi, Hall, C.JJ.) held a Border Patrol agent had reasonable suspicion to stop Compton and his brother, found to be transporting 145 pounds of marijuana, based on “(1) the brothers’ avoidance of [a Border Patrol] checkpoint, (2) the checkpoint’s proximity to the [Canadian] border, and (3) the brothers’ peculiar attempt to conceal the avoidance.”  The “peculiar attempt” was the brothers’ “abruptly slow[ing] down” when their SUV came within sight of the checkpoint and then “veer[ing] into the U‐shaped driveway of [a] vegetable stand” where they each bought “a pint of peppers.”

“Because [the agent] had already determined that the SUV had made the abrupt turn into the vegetable stand in order to avoid the checkpoint, [he] could reasonably interpret the pepper purchase to be an attempt to conceal that avoidance.  He could reasonably discount the probability of an alternate …


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Categories: Fourth Amendment, reasonable suspicion, terry stop

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Woe Betide Those Who Park on the Wrong Side of the Street (and those who produce child pornography)

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No relevant opinions today; two summary orders.

In United States v. Grady, Syracuse police noticed that Grady’s car was parked in violation of the city’s odd/even street parking rules.  They approached the car, shone their flashlights inside and saw, in plain view, a bag of crack cocaine on Grady’s lap.  A loaded gun was also found in the car.

Assuming the officers’ approach of the car constituted a stop, the Court (Jacobs, Hall, Lynch, CJJ) held there was reasonable suspicion given the car’s being parked on the wrong side of the street.  Though a car isn’t “parked” if it’s stopped only to load or unload goods or passengers, the officers observed no such activity and the Court held they watched the car for long enough — 10 seconds — before deciding to approach.  “The officers were not required to conduct surveillance long enough to ‘rule out the possibility of …


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Categories: car stop, child pornography, expert witnesses, Fourth Amendment, reasonable suspicion, substantive reasonableness

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Friday, March 20th, 2009

Seizure Disorder

United States v. Simmons, No. 07-5127-cr (2d Cir. March 17, 2009) (Pooler, Sotomayor, Katzmann, CJJ)

This appeal tackles an interesting search and seizure issue, a challenge to the discharge of a juror, and a sentencing issue. Simmons prevailed only on the sentencing claim.

The Anonymous Tip

Police officers received an radio run reporting an anonymous 911 call about an assault, with “a possible gun involved,” in progress. They sped to the address, which was in a neighborhood known for drug and gang activity, and could see no evidence of an assault. Simmons, along with two others, was inside the lobby of the building, and matched the description in the radio run. There was no indication that he was engaged in an assault.

The officers entered the lobby. As Simmons walked toward the front door, one of them ordered him to stop. He did not. The officer ordered him to stop …


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Categories: juror discharge, reasonable suspicion, Uncategorized

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Monday, January 19th, 2009

Crosswalk Puzzle

United States v. Stewart, No. 07-3003-cr (2d Cir. January 8, 2009) (Winter, Miner, Cabranes, CJJ)

Brett Stewart was a passenger in a livery cab that stopped at a red light. Two police officers claimed that the cab’s front wheels ended up in the crosswalk, a traffic violation. They pulled over the cab and recovered a gun from Stewart.

At Stewart’s suppression hearing, the officers gave their account, while the cab driver testified that he stopped before entering the crosswalk, which the district court credited. The court found that the officers had been subject to an optical illusion or distraction; it took judicial notice “of the fact that a stationary object may shift in one’s visual perception as one moves past it [and thus] that an object abutting a straight line may appear to be over that line as an observer moves past and away from that line.” The district court …


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Categories: probable cause, reasonable suspicion, traffic stop, Uncategorized

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Saturday, December 6th, 2008

The Waist Band

United States v. Padilla, No. 07-5359-cr (2d Cir. December 2, 2008) (Raggi, Calabresi, CJJ, Keenan, DJ)

October is the cruellest month. That’s when a New York City detective recovered a gun from Hector Padilla’s waistband. Padilla was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment, the statutory maximum. On appeal, his principal challenge was to the stop-and-frisk.

The Terry Stop

The detective, who was on surveillance in a “high-crime” area, became suspicious when he saw Padilla and another person following a “skinny,” “disheveled” white male down a secluded wooded path. The officer thought either that the two men were planning to rob the disheveled man or that the three were going to engage in a drug deal together. The officer drove around the block; when he saw the three again they were on the other side of the path and appeared to be walking as a group. This did not dispel his suspicions. …


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Categories: frisk, reasonable suspicion, terry stop, Uncategorized

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