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Bouldin Law Firm
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"Have a Good Night" Stop and Search

A recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision in Turley v. Commonwealth, 399 S.W.3d 412 (Ky. 2013) the Defendant was stopped for speeding and improper illumination of his license plate. The Defendant passed a filed sobriety test, the officer verified his documentation and then told the defendant to "have a good night."  After the Defendant returned to his vehicle, the officer detained the 2 passengers, claiming a Terry stop. Pursuant to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) an officer can briefly detain persons to ask their identification and general information if there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, but not enough evidence to support probably cause for arrest.  A Terry stop may also include a pat down search to assure the officer's safety.  The officer testified his reason for detaining the passengers was to see who they were and to make sure the passengers did not have any outstanding warrants.  The  Court found that the officer asserted "no individualized reasonable articulable suspicion that the passengers were engaged in or about to engage in criminal conduct to justify the Terry stop. The officer saw a wooden box and demanded it opened; which yielded methamphetamine, oxaprozin, 2 loaded handguns and $3,900 in cash. The Trial court denied the motion to suppress the evidence as a product of illegal seizure.  The Supreme Court reversed the trial court, holding all evidence seized after the officer accomplished his legitimate purpose for the traffic stop and said goodnight to the Defendant was seized illegally and cannot be used against the Defendant at trial. If you have been charged you should know all of your possible defenses.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

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