Court Rules Police had Legal Grounds to Investigate


People v. Carter, Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished Opinion)

Issues:

Search & seizure; Traffic stop & arrest; People v. Cartwright; Suppression of evidence under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine; People v. Stevens; People v. Brzezinski; People v. Frazier; Per se unreasonableness of warrantless searches & seizures; People v. Borchard-Ruhland; Investigatory stops under Terry v. Ohio; Reasonable suspicion; People v. Champion; Warrantless arrest; MCL 764.15; People v. Thomas; Brief detention to make reasonable inquiries; People v. Rizzo; Further detention requiring probable cause; People v. Burrell; Immediate seizure; People v. Freeman; The inevitable discovery doctrine; Utah v. Strieff; People v. Reese; Ineffective assistance of counsel; People v. LeBlanc; People v. Rockey; People v. Messenger; Failing to advance a meritless argument or raise a futile objection; People v. Ericksen; Cell phone tower records; People v. Gadomski; Smith v. Maryland; 18 USC § 2703(d); Cell-site location information (CSLI); Carpenter v. United States; United States v. Carpenter (6th Cir.); Purpose of the exclusionary rule; People v. Goldston; Good-faith exception; Davis v. United States; Jury instruction on aiding & abetting; People v. Bartlett; Right to a properly instructed jury; MCL 768.29; People v. Riddle; People v. Daniel; Necessity of evidentiary support for an instruction; People v. Wess

Summary:

The court held that the police had reasonable suspicion for stopping the vehicle, and probable cause to arrest defendant. Also, the existence of the outstanding warrant, and his lack of a driver’s license, provided the police with independent reasons for persisting with his arrest and the searches that followed, even if they were hasty in finding that they had probable cause in the first instance to arrest him on suspicion of murder. The trial court did not err in admitting the evidence obtained in the searches. Further, the police acted in good faith in obtaining defendant’s CSLI when they did, and he was not denied a fair trial when the trial court instructed the jury on aiding and abetting.

Defendant argued “both that the police did not have reasonable suspicion for stopping him in the first place, and alternatively,” that they lacked “probable cause to progress from a Terry stop to arrest.” The court noted that the “trial court offered no separate analysis concerning reasonable suspicion for the stop and probable cause for the warrantless arrest.” The court agreed “that the evidence offered no basis for making such a distinction, given that the police forcibly stopped the car defendant was driving in the middle of the street, and immediately produced their service weapons and arrested him.” Thus, defendant was not “subjected to a brief detention for questioning, but rather immediately seized.” The trial court “properly eschewed endeavoring to parse police conduct requiring only reasonable suspicion from that requiring probable cause.” The court further found that the testimony the trial court credited “indicated that the police had sufficient legal justifications for the stop and arrest.” The court held that the reasons leading police “to suspect that the vehicle to which the anonymous tip led them was the one involved in the shooting, combined with defendant’s exercise of dominion over the vehicle while presenting an appearance fairly comporting with the descriptions of a young man of medium complexion, provided the police with reasonable suspicion for stopping the vehicle, and probable cause to arrest" him. Affirmed.

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