Saturday, May 25, 2013

Walking down the street is not a crime

Michael J. Bartee won in State v. Williams, No. 101,617 (Kan. May 17, 2013), affirming Judge Boeding’s suppression order in a Wyandotte County drug prosecution.  Judge Boeding had held that Mr. Williams was illegally detained and suppressed the seized evidence.  The COA had reversed with the majority finding alternatively that the entire encounter was voluntary and that the taint of any illegal detention was purged by discovery of an outstanding warrant.  The KSC agreed with dissenting COA Judge Standridge that Mr. Williams had been seized for Fourth Amendment purposes and then applied its clarified attenuation analysis from Moralez (another Michael Bartee case decided the same day and blogged about here) and agreed with Judge Standridge that the taint of official misconduct was not purged:
the third factor in this case—the purpose and flagrancy of the officers' conduct—weighs heavily in favor of suppression. Importantly, not only did the officers lack reasonable suspicion of Williams' involvement in criminal activity, the record also demonstrates no reason for the officers' encounter with Williams other than to conduct what Officer Lewis described as a "pedestrian check," which, in this case, involved the check for outstanding warrants.
Even though on slightly different grounds, the KSC affirmed Judge Boeding's suppression order.

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