Can a cop tell you, “hold a sec” and really expect you to walk away? Seizure under 4th Amendment?

Defendant Deshawn Hood has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). On November 22, 2019, Hood moved to suppress evidence seized following the September 16, 2019 police stop that led to his arrest and the charge in this case. (See Mot. to Suppress [ECF 19].) He argues that since the police lacked a reasonable, articulable suspicion to suspect him of a crime, the stop violated the Fourth Amendment and any evidence seized as a result must be suppressed. (See id.; see also Def.’ s Supp. Br. [ECF 26].)

An evidentiary hearing and argument were held on this motion on January 10 and 14, 2020. For the reasons stated herein, Hood’s motion will be granted, and the evidence seized following his unconstitutional stop will be suppressed.

The Fourth Amendment guarantees the “right of the people to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. “But not all interactions between police officers and citizens amount to a ‘seizure’ for Fourth Amendment purposes.” United States v. Gross, 784 F.3d 784, 786 (D.C. Cir. 2015).

An individual is seized only when an “officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained [his] liberty.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 n.16 (1968). “Whether police action amounts to a ‘show of authority’ requires a court to ask whether a ‘reasonable person’ ‘in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, … would have believed that he was not free to leave.”‘ United States v. Castle, 825 F.3d 625,632 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (quoting United States v. Wood, 981 F.2d 536, 539 (D.C. Cir. 1992)).

“When the government conducts an unconstitutional search or seizure, the Court must exclude any evidence obtained as the ‘fruit’ of that search or seizure.” Smith, 373 F. Supp. 3d at 236 (internal quotation marks omitted).


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Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law

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