COURT WATCH: Judge Denies Motion to Suppress/Dismiss Evidence Obtained during a Traffic Stop

By Ebenezer Mamo

ALAMEDA, CA – An Alameda County Superior Court judge here has denied a defense motion to suppress evidence the defense argued was the result of an “improper” search of the accused’s vehicle during a traffic stop.

The police officer testified how it all began with a routine traffic stop when he pulled over the accused who allegedly was making an illegal U-turn. When the officer saw the accused it looked to him that the accused was drunk and high due to his bloodshot eyes.

The police officer told the court, “While I was thinking of giving him a field sobriety test, I saw something shining on the floorboard of the car. That’s when I had a hunch to search the car,” and added as he searched the car he found a plastic bag and in that plastic bag was an amphetamine pipe and right next to it a gun.

The defense argued the officer had no right to search the accused’s car when the officer’s only reason for doing so was allegedly noticing something shiny on the floorboard and a simple hunch he said he had.

The defense added that “just because the officer had a hunch does not mean that qualifies him to search the car using probable cause as his justification. You need more than that as probable cause to search the car.”

The defense charged that “it was also very dark outside. How can you be so sure you even saw something shining in the accused car? Even if you were sure didn’t you have a spotlight, headlights, and the red/blue lights from your siren. Is it not possible that the shiny thing you saw was from one of those three flashing lights?”

The defense noted these two things alone do not show enough reason to argue probable cause in your searching of the accused’s car.

The prosecution argued the bloodshot eyes of the defendant and his gait and demeanor during the interaction with the police officer showed there was enough of a reason to give the police officer to search the car.

The judge decided to deny the defense motion to suppress the evidence found in the accused’s vehicle: the loaded weapon and amphetamine pipe.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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