Saturday, May 24, 2014

Asking for identification is more than a minimal intrusion

Matthew J. Edge won in State v. Reiss, No. 102,071 (Kan. May 2, 2014), obtaining suppression of evidence in a Butler County DUI prosecution.  The defense had not challenged the stop, but challenged extended detention after the stop. The state had not challenged that Mr. Reiss had been detained.  The COA had held that an officer could public safety could justify brief, suspicionless stops.  The KSC held that an officer can direct a person to get back in their car for officer safety and, thus, the initial seizure was lawful.

But the KSC further held that the officer lacked any reasonable suspicion to continue to detain Mr. Reiss past that point:
So Ritter was justified in his initial exchange with the seated Reiss. Ritter testified that "I asked him why he had gotten out of his vehicle. And he told me that he just didn't really know what he did. I said that's ok." 
In short, Ritter had quickly resolved his safety concerns that justified Reiss' initial detention. The State did not provide evidence to suggest otherwise—except that Ritter had been unwilling to turn his back on Reiss' truck, a concern easily resolved by advising Reiss he was now free to go. But then Ritter changed the thrust of the officer-citizen encounter: "I asked him for his driver's license and proof of insurance to identify who he was."
According to the KSC, asking for identification is more than a minimal intrusion and requires reasonable suspicion.

As an aside, I thought it was interesting that the KSC held that the way to resolve ongoing officer safety concerns (absent reasonable suspicion or more that would justify detention) is to let the person go.  What a concept.

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