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Court of Appeals OKs Traffic Stop

police car

Case: People v. Mazzie

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Published Opinion )

Judges: Murray, Borrello, and Ronayne Krause


Search & seizure; Motion to suppress evidence; Traffic stop based on information in the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) that the vehicle was not insured; Alleged violation of the confidentiality requirements of MCL 257.227(4) & 500.3101a(3); The exclusionary rule; People v. Hawkins; People v. Hamilton; People v. Sobczak-Obetts; People v. Stevens (After Remand); Reasonableness of a seizure; People v. Henry (After Remand); Riley v. California; People v. Steele; Reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop; People v. Simmons; People v. Kavanaugh; Brief detention after an investigatory stop; People v. LoCicero (After Remand); Reliance on LEIN information; People v. Freeman; MCL 500.3102(2); Reliability of the information; United States v. Broca-Martinez (5th Cir.); United States v. Sandridge (6th Cir.); United States v. Pierre (1st Cir.); Tucker v. State (FL App.); Commonwealth v. Farnan (PA Super.); State v. Spillner (HI); State v. Duesterhoeft (MN); United States v. Cortez-Galaviz (10th Cir.)


The court held that even if the Secretary of State (SOS) violated MCL 257.227(4) and 500.3101a(3) by providing insurance information to the LEIN system, the trial court erred in applying the exclusionary rule to exclude evidence obtained from the vehicle stopped on the basis of that information. Further, even if the information was 16 days old, the officer still had at least a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle was being operated without insurance, making the stop and detention to check for valid insurance reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Thus, the court reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence, and remanded. He was a passenger in the vehicle when it was pulled over and searched by police. The trial court gave two reasons for granting his motion to suppress – (1) the SOS’s insurance information given “to the LEIN system is not up-to-date, i.e., it is only provided twice a month, so police lacked reasonable suspicion” to stop the vehicle and (2) the SOS was not allowed by statute “to provide the information to the LEIN system.” Taking the second rationale first, the court found that nothing in MCL 257.227 and 500.3101a indicated “a legislative intent that the drastic remedy of the exclusion of evidence should be applied for violations of these statutes. Neither statute indicates that, should the confidential information be shared in a manner other than specifically permitted, the exclusionary rule” applies. Further, the “purpose of the exclusionary rule, ‘to sanction police misconduct as a means of deterrence,’ would not be served” as it was the SOS that committed any statutory violation, not the officers who stopped the vehicle. Also, the purpose of the statutes is to ensure confidentiality of information, not to deter police conduct. As to the reliability of the information and reasonable suspicion, the court concluded that the delayed reporting time frame did not make an officer’s reliance on the information to stop the vehicle "unconstitutionally unreasonable." Several cases from other states and the federal courts have uniformly found “that vehicle-related information older than two weeks is a proper basis to establish reasonable suspicion to pull over a vehicle.”

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