US v. Landeros 9thCIR 11JAN2019

Reversing the district court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop, the panel held that law enforcement officers may not extend a lawfully initiated vehicle stop because a passenger refuses to identify himself, absent reasonable suspicion that the individual has committed a criminal offense.

The court noted that the record does not demonstrate that the officer had a reasonable suspicion that the defendant was out past his curfew or drinking underage, therefore the court held that any extension of the traffic stop to investigate those matters was an unlawful seizure.

Practice Tip:  You cannot extend a traffic stop just to identify a passenger without a reasonable suspicion required to detain the passenger under a Terry Stop.

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