Gun Found During Illegal Parking Investigation Justified
In prosecution on the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, the District Court did not err in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress the gun that was found on the floor of the back seat of the car, in which the Defendant was a passenger. The police had approached the car and observed the Defendant attempting to hide something, after they had observed said car stopped in the road with 15 feet of the crosswalk, which is in violation of Wisconsin statute.
The Defendant conceded that the car was stopped 7 to 8 feet from the crosswalk and the District Court could properly conclude that police had probable cause to issue a ticket that would allow them to briefly seize car and its occupants. The Court rejected the Defendant’s claim that the police could not approach said car because the statute would allow the car to be in instant prohibited zone to receive or discharge cargo or passengers, since (1) all four doors of the car were shut and no one was standing nearby, such that extension did not apply; (2) police, who had probable cause to issue a ticket, could approach the car (and observe the defendant’s actions) before resolving any statutory exemption; and (3) police could issue instant ticket and then leave to judicial process issue as to whether an exemption applies. Also, under Wren, 517 U.S. 806, police can stop and arrest individuals, where there is probable cause to believe that said individuals violated the parking statutes.
United States v Johnson, No. 15-1366 (7th Cir. 2016)