Changing lanes, driver cover face, no rear seat, pull over to the shoulder = reasonable suspicion?

After his motion to suppress was denied, defendant pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Napoleon A. Jones, J., to transporting illegal aliens. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, Tashima, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) defendant’s conduct in changing lanes and then pulling off the road could not be considered in determining whether officer had reasonable suspicion justifying stop; (2) defendant’s attempts to obscure his face could not contribute to a finding of reasonable suspicion to justify investigatory stop of vehicle; (3) time of day at which defendant was driving when stopped did not support finding of reasonable suspicion; (4) absence of rear seat of defendant’s truck could not be considered in determining whether officer acted with reasonable suspicion in making stop; and (5) defendant’s conduct in driving large pickup truck on highway known to be used by alien smugglers at 4:20 a.m. did not give rise to reasonable suspicion.

Full case here: UNITED STATES, v. Ivan SIGMOND-BALLESTEROS, 285 F.3d 1117 (2002).

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
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