In Payne v. State, defendant was stopped for following too
close. The arresting officer came up with 12 reasons why he searched
defendant's vehicle. These included nervousness, lack of eye contact
at the appropriate time, and standing in "the handcuff position".
The Georgia Court of Appeals judges viewed the video and determined
that these 12 articulable suspicions were a crock. The court held
that defendant was illegally detained, which amounted to an unlawful
arrest thus making the coerced 'consensual' search unlawful.
In State v. Hanson, the long haired, bearded musician was
stopped for weaving within his lane (not a traffic violation). While
taking six minutes to write a warning for a non-existent traffic
violation, the officer asked some forty questions. After being told
he was free to leave, the officer then asked for permission to
search the vehicle. The Court of Appeals viewed the video tape and
determined that the officer's testimony lacked credibility. They
further ruled that in asking for consent to search, the officer went
beyond the scope of the original investigation. Evidence suppressed.
In State v. Blair, a Trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding.
The vehicle had a drive out tag and contained four occupants.
The Trooper questioned the driver and the front seat passenger as to
ownership of the vehicle. The Trooper testified that he became
suspicious when neither produced proof of ownership, they provided
conflicting explanations concerning the purpose of their journey,
all four appeared very nervous, and defendant, who was seated in the
rear, clutched a black bag.
The Trooper asked if any weapons, drugs or large quantities of case
were in the car. The driver said no. The Trooper then asked the
purported owner (front seat passenger) for permission to search the
car. He respectfully declined. The four were detained while a K-9
unit was summoned.
Defendant fled with his bag, was apprehended and found to be in
possession of marijuana, baggies, and scales. The Court of Appeals
held that the detention in this case was impermissible because the
facts known to the officer did not provide reasonable suspicion of
illegal drug activity. Evidence suppressed.
In Padron v. State, defendant was stopped for a minor traffic
violation. After 6 minutes of horsing around, the deputy told
defendant he was going to issue a warning ticket. After returning
his license the officer began asking questions about contraband in
the car. He asked defendant a total of 5 times for permission to
search his vehicle. Cocaine was found in a suitcase in the trunk.
At the suppression hearing, the officer said defendant seemed very
nervous, and that defendant and his passenger gave conflicting
stories. The Court of Appeals said that the video tape showed no
nervousness and no conflict in stories. Furthermore, the Court said
that the investigation had no connection to the traffic stop and
that no reasonable articulable suspicion existed for the
investigation. Evidence suppressed.
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