Cop opens the passenger door and leans inside to speak to the driver. Illegal search? Ngumezi

The panel reversed the district court’s denial of a motion to suppress a firearm found in a search of the defendant’s car, vacated his conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and remanded for further proceedings.

The panel held that police officers who have reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify a traffic stop—but who lack probable cause or any other particularized justification, such as a reasonable belief that the driver poses a danger—may not open the door to a vehicle and lean inside.

Because opening the car door and leaning into the car constituted an unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, the panel considered what remedy is appropriate in this case. The panel held that the exclusionary rule applies to the loaded handgun found under the driver’s seat because the government made no effort to satisfy its burden to show that the gun is not “the fruit of the poisonous tree,” did not invoke the attenuation doctrine, and did not argue that the inevitable-discovery doctrine applies.

Full Opinion here: United States v. Ngumezi – Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,

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

Want to learn about our recent victories?

Do you want to buy our Lawstache merchandise? Maybe a t-shirt?

Are you are a Russian speaker? Вы говорите по-русски?

185 West F Street Suite 100-D
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 357-6677

Based in San Diego, CA
Licensed: California, Nevada, and Federal Courts

The San Diego-based business litigation and criminal defense attorneys at LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM are experienced and dedicated professionals singularly focused on one goal: achieving the best results for our clients. Through our hard work and expertise, we guarantee all of our clients that we will diligently protect their rights and zealously pursue justice. Our clients deserve nothing less!