People v. Duran, 2016 IL App (1st) 152678 (October). Episode 252 (Duration 8:54)
This traffic stop from its inception was a drug investigation, reasonableness has to take that into account.
Police get a tip that a named women will be in Chicago, stay at a certain hotel, and will have drugs on her.
Sure enough, the police watch the hotel and confirm that the woman checks into the hotel.
She is seen carrying a black attache bag. Later Defendant and another women visit the first women at the hotel.
Defendant is seen walking out of the hotel room with the black bag.
He then gets in an Escalade driven by the second woman who was with him when they were at the hotel. A CPD patrol officer stops the Escalade for driving too fast for conditions.
The women consents to a search. At that point, Defendant is immediately removed from the vehicle and handcuffed.
A dog comes to the scene and alerts specifically upon the black bag.
The trial court concluded that the officers were justified in stopping the vehicle, detaining the occupants, and having them step out of the vehicle to conduct a Terry investigation.
The trial court also found that the officers obtained valid consent from the driver to search her vehicle and that the dog’s alert upon sniffing the attaché bag was sufficiently reliable to establish probable cause to believe that the bag contained illegal drugs and, therefore, the officers were justified in searching the bag, seizing the drugs, and arresting the defendant.
What About The Handcuffing?
However, the trial court concluded that the defendant was arrested without probable cause prior to the dog’s alert to the presence of narcotics in the attaché bag and, therefore, “the seizure was unlawful.” As a consequence, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence.
The reviewing court said that since this was always a drug investigation the officers had reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in criminal narcotic activity, they were justified in handcuffing the defendant as a safety precaution without transforming his temporary detention incident to a valid traffic stop into an arrest.
The tip from the informant standing alone did not demonstrate the basis of the confidential informant’s knowledge or the veracity of the information.
However, independent corroboration of significant aspects of the informant’s predictions can impart a degree of reliability on the informant’s other allegations sufficient to support an investigative stop.
Even corroboration of innocent details can be sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
The reviewing court agreed the facts of this case support the trial court’s finding that the officers had a reasonable articulable suspicion that the defendant was involved in criminal narcotics activity, justifying an investigative stop of the vehicle in which the defendant was riding.
The informant was correct about the named women and the hotel. Additional observation by police saw defendant visit her and leave with her bag.
This looked like a drug deal.
Yea, What About The Handcuffing?
Handcuffing is the type of activity which may convert an otherwise lawful investigatory stop into an arrest because it heightens the intrusiveness of a temporary detention.
However, the use of handcuffs does not, by itself, convert a lawful investigatory stop into an arrest. This reviewing court said there is nothing unreasonable about police officers being apprehensive concerning the risks inherent in interdicting drug traffic.
The trial court erred in finding that the defendant was arrested prior to the dog’s narcotics alert based solely upon the fact that he was handcuffed and placed in a police car upon exiting the Cadillac.
Because this was always a drug investigation the five minutes it for the drug dog to arrive on the scene and the time it took to complete the dog sniff did not exceed the bounds of reasonableness.
Exclusionary Rule Inappropriate
Additionally, this was not even a situation where the exclusionary rule would have been appropriate.
When the arrest of an individual is tainted by illegality, evidence obtained as a result of the illegal arrest may be subject to the exclusionary rule and suppressed.
However, a determination that an individual has been unlawfully arrested does not necessarily resolve the issue of whether subsequently obtained evidence is admissible.
The relevant inquiry is whether the evidence was derived from the illegal arrest or whether it was obtained by means sufficiently distinguishable from the taint of the illegal arrest. It is clear that the methamphetamine found in the attaché bag was not obtained as a result of the defendant’s alleged arrest and should not have been suppressed.
- Navarette v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1684 (2014) (SCOTUS anonymous tip case)
- People v. Claypool, 2014 IL App (3d) 120468 (October 2014) (stop and frisk reasonable when defendant seen trying to open cars it is common for for burglary suspects to be carrying burglary tools)
- People v. Fox, 2014 IL App (2d) 130320 (May 2014) (burglary report issued minutes before the stop does not justify a search when complainant said nothing about weapons)
People v. Porter, 2014 IL App (3d) 120338 (January 2014) (officers not justified in this pat down because the home invasion victim made no mention of a weapon)
- People v. Boswell, 2014 IL App (1st) 122275 (March 2014) (cops not allowed to automatically pat down a suspected drug dealer)