Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reasonable Suspicion Standard is Alive and Well in the 7th Court of Appeals - Whew!

The 7th District Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded the case of Gonzalez-Gilando v. State, NO. 07-09-0290-CR, because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to make the stop (wherein the drugs were discovered) and it is easy to see why.

The troopers testified that they grew suspicious because:

  1. The vehicle was clean (lacked road grime);
  2. The young occupants did not "fit" the year and model of the vehicle ('99 Lumina);
  3. The occupants should have been in a sportier car;
  4. Both occupants looked away as the vehicles met and passed;
  5. The occupants turned their hats around after the cars passed;
  6. The car slowed to almost a complete stop at a blinking caution light adjacent to an intersection;
  7. The driver drove within the speed limit.
Can you believe that!  That was the best "reasonable suspicion" that they could come up with!  You would think that with time to prepare, they could have come up with something better than that!

The Court summed it up best:
It is not a crime in this State to drive a clean car, look away from passing police officers, drive a vehicle of one's choice, obey traffic warnings, and abide by posted speed limits.