Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ohio Court Finds Fourth Amendment Violation in Traffic Stop

An Ohio Appeals Court recently upheld a decision that law enforcement officers violated the Fourth amendment rights of a defendant.  The case is State v. Ruff
In this case, a Huron County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant was called to a residence for a reported burglary. She observed that the the home had been "ransacked" and television sets and weapons were stolen.  The owner said that his ex-girlfriend had a key and that she was now dating the defendant.  Around this time, the defendant had been stopped for driving without a license, and an ammunition box identified by the homeowner was found in his possession. 
Later, after conducting some surveillance, a vhehile driven by the defendant;s friend was stopped.  The defendant and incriminating evidence was found inside.
The court held that the lieutenant did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify the stop.  She “acknowledged that she did not know who was either driving or riding in the white pickup truck. The truck was not the vehicle at the earlier traffic stop. She stopped the truck based on the assumption that [the defendant] was inside.” 

1 comment:

  1. (I don't have time to read the entire opinion)
    I'm generally defense-biased, but I'm really surprised that this was surpressed. If you are wanted by the police, I would suspect that any vehicle owned by a wanted person would be available to a stop.