Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Let my people go . . . .

Lynn Hartfield, a federal public defender from Denver, successfully defended a government appeal from a suppression order out of Colorado in U.S. v. Lopez. The Tenth Circuit rejected the government's argument that, even though officers still had Mr. Lopez' drivers' license, the stop remained consensual:
Here, [the officer] testified he approached Lopez because it was late at night and Lopez was standing in a high-crime area. At the time he asked for Lopez identification, [the officer] knew the address of the owner of the car next to which Lopez was standing and knew the car had not been reported stolen. Within seconds of reviewing Lopez license, [the officer] was able to establish Lopez identity and confirm that Lopez's address matched the address on the car registration. After that point in time, the continued retention of Lopez's license was undue.
We are seeing a lot more of these continued detention cases. It is an area where both Kansas courts and the Tenth Circuit seem to be drawing a line. So keep filing those suppression motions.

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