Police observed a car park illegally by a store that was known to them to be a narcotics distribution point.  The defendant in this case (Hester) was a passenger.  When the driver admitted it wasn’t her car and she had no license, the defendant offered to drive and went to get out of the car. When he did, the officers heard a “thunk” that sounded like a firearm hitting the floorboard. Another officer saw the firearm and alerted the others and Hester attempted to run. Hester was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Hester argued the stop was unconstitutional and the firearm should be suppressed.  The Third circuit disagreed and ruled that the initial stop was a seizure of Hester such that the Fourth Amendment applied.  The court ruled that Hester submitted to the police authority (at least initially) and that the detention was supported by a reasonable suspicion that the occupants of the vehicle were involved in illegal drug distribution.

To read or download the full decision CLICK HERE