Skip to comments.Minnesota Supreme Court forfeiture case could affect 'policing for profit'
Posted on 05/12/2014 12:11:35 PM PDT by TurboZamboni
To the trial judge, the case of Daniel Garcia-Mendoza seemed to be a police stop based on "driving while Latino."
Plymouth police officer Ryan Peterson said he was suspicious because "the driver had both hands on the steering wheel and was looking straight ahead." What's more, neither driver nor passenger "were looking at me."
Checking the license plate, Peterson learned there was no driver's license listed for the car's owner. Peterson pulled over the 2003 Chevy Tahoe on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on March 19, 2012. "Luckily for Peterson, perhaps," neither Garcia-Mendoza nor his passenger had a driver's license, the judge said.
In a search of the car before it was towed, officers found 8 ounces of methamphetamine in a Pringles can. What followed is going to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which hears arguments Monday on the question: If a judge in a civil forfeiture case finds a bad bust, can he keep the state from seizing the defendant's property, even if the guy pleaded guilty in a criminal case?
Hennepin County District Judge Thomas Sipkins said the stop and search were unlawful -- the cop had no "reasonable suspicion" to stop the car. At that point, he could have suppressed the drug evidence, using the "exclusionary rule," and freed Garcia-Mendoza -- if he were hearing the criminal case. The rule applies the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure.
(Excerpt) Read more at twincities.com ...
Ain't that what you're supposed to do? I just know I'm gonna get pulled over for riding my Hog with both hands on the bars and 'paying attention'.
Cop should have stuck to the old tried and true catchall of ‘weaving in his lane’ for his excuse to pull them over.
“But Garcia-Mendoza had pleaded guilty to a drug-selling charge in federal court and agreed there to forfeit the car and $611 in cash found on him. He is doing 10 years in prison.”
Cause to pull the vehicle over.
...neither Garcia-Mendoza nor his passenger had a driver's license.
Cause to arrest the driver.
...officers found 8 ounces of methamphetamine in a Pringles can.
Cause to arrest the passenger and impound the vehicle.
I don't see the problem here.
Huh? Illegal Stop=illegal search=suppressed by the court, of course no one is going to give the junk back...
Sounds like you like the idea of “fishing” expeditions by police. Too bad. Most Americans understand the police have to have reason, otherwise we would be in Russia, not the US, and this would be a moot point.
Caveat: Drug dealers should be put under the jail, illicit drug users should be horse whipped.
No driver's license is reason enough for the stop in my book.
Why anyone is trying to sway public opinion in favor of this guy is beyond me.
Most commercial drivers have licenses which are not associated with the vehicle they are driving. Should they all be assumed criminals?
When my mother-in-law was in her eighties she lost her driver's license and my wife did all the driving for her in my mother-in-laws car? Was there probable cause to believe that my wife was engaging in criminal activity?
I don't think so. I'm very much in favor of increasing sentences for recidivists. We already have enough laws allowing the authorities to intrude into our lives.
Stopping a car to see if the driver is licensed isn't "assuming they're criminals". If the driver had indeed produced a valid license, then I would say (barring any other factors) that the police didn't have reason to search.
If someone's driving a commercial vehicle then I understand that the driver may not be on the title of the vehicle... but they better be licensed to drive.
Civil forfeiture is theft plain and simple. There is no sense of innocent until proven guilty anymore.
You completely ignored the very first sentence of my post.
Everyone knows Chevy’s Traverse makes an awesome D.A.R.E. vehicle .
Reasons given by drug agents for stopping people at the airport:
* arrived late at night
* arrived early in the morning
* arrived in afternoon
* one of first to deplane
* one of last to deplane
* deplaned in the middle
* purchased ticket at airport
* made reservation on short notice
* bought coach ticket
* bought first-class ticket
* used one-way ticket
* used round-trip ticket
* paid for ticket with cash
* paid for ticket with small denomination currency
* paid for ticket with large denomination currency
* made local telephone call after deplaning
* made long-distance telephone call after deplaning
* pretended to make telephone call
* traveled from New York to Los Angeles
* traveled to Houston
* carried no luggage
* carried brand-new luggage
* carried a small bag
* carried a medium-sized bag
* carried two bulky garment bags
* carried two heavy suitcases
* carried four pieces of luggage
* overly protective of luggage
* disassociated self from luggage
* traveled alone
* traveled with a companion
* acted too nervous
* acted too calm
* made eye contact with officer
* avoided making eye contact with officer
* wore expensive clothing and gold jewelry
* dressed casually
* went to restroom after deplaning
* walked quickly through airport
* walked slowly through airport
* walked aimlessly through airport
* left airport by taxi
* left airport by limousine
* left airport by private car
* left airport by hotel courtesy van
* suspect was Hispanic
* suspect was black female
Unfortunately for your sequence, the cop did not run the plates until after the stop.
Where do you get that from?
"Checking the license plate, Peterson learned there was no driver's license listed for the car's owner. Peterson pulled over the 2003 Chevy Tahoe..."
The article says he ran the plates, it then says he pulled the car over. If you have another source of information you need to post a link.
The police have no authority to detain people for reasons other than an articulable reason to suspect that a crime has been committed.
It's all about that "secure in their persons" part of the Fourth Amenddment. If it doesn't mean that the police can't detain you without reason, then what does it mean?
If there IS a reasonable suspicion of law-breaking then asking for a driver's license is reasonable once the stop has been justified.
What's the legal basis for the random DUI checkpoints some places (like Los Angeles) do?
Absolutely. Next time it happens to you simply ask the cop whether you are free to go or are under arrest. He will answer that you are not free to go and are being "detained".
Cementjungle said: "What's the legal basis for the random DUI checkpoints some places (like Los Angeles) do?"
There is no Constitutional basis for such stops, but merely some court decisions allowing them.
It’s not clear at all to me why he was pulled over. The only suggestion in the article that something was wrong was the mention of the owner not having a driver’s license. But if that’s why this guy was pulled over, it follows that the cop ran the plate while the guy was still driving along. That’s a fishing expedition, whether he did it “by hand” or an automatic license plate reader did the work and rang a bell.
As to whether it’s “probable” that the guy behind the wheel is the owner, that’s another matter — but one for after the stop not before IMO.
>> Checking the license plate, Peterson learned there was no driver’s license listed for the car’s owner
Don’t agree that’s adequate cause unless the vehicle was reported stolen.
Imagine all the licensed drivers driving their own vehicles down the freeway along with all their various illegal paraphernalia that go... unmanaged.
the other issue is the 'search' of the database simply because a driver is operating the vehicle in a safe manner: both hands on wheel as taught in driver's training and looking at the road not what's on the side of the road (the cop)
IOW, this officer took an official action by searching the database for no legitimate reason other than operating the vehicle as taught in driver's ed training
is that that world you want to live in?
I didn’t ignore it. It is the operative issue. Why do LEOs run plates when they have no reasonable, articulable suspicion or probable cause? That is the issue.
Can a Cop run my plates because I have an NRA or faith based sticker on it? Because I part my hair down the middle and men who so do use drugs? Because only hillbillies ( who all have illegal guns and untaxed moonshine) drive older PUs?
Because I hold the steering wheel with both hands and look ahead when I pass a cop?
Soon, technology will be in place to record plates and run them automatically as you pass cameras along the road. Then, if the plate has no licensed driver attached, a cop will visit the car registration address? Huh? Big leap of logic there, but the courts will allow it “ for public safety and the children etc”...
The death of liberty by a thousand tiny cuts.
"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone
who have the courage to defend it."
I have a problem with the police doing the search of their database in order to come up with their initial reason for stopping the car. The police could not cite an observed behavior that was probable cause to investigate the driver, to my understanding. Therefore, a fishing trip into the database gave them an excuse.
Essentially, they did a search to justify doing a search.
Yes. Arrest no; detaining, yes.
What's the legal basis for the random DUI checkpoints some places (like Los Angeles) do?
As far as I can tell, there isn't one. SCOTUS disagrees with me, although I'm sure that doesn't cause them too many sleepless nights.
If you’re assuming for the purpose of shooting the breeze, yet it is. If you’re assuming for the purposes of evaluating PC, then I’m going to say, no it’s not.