District Court Says Officers Abandoned Warrant Requirement
In prosecution on drug possession and firearm charges, Dist. Ct. erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress drugs and firearm seized via warrantless search of defendant’s home, under circumstances where: (1) first-time tipster told police that defendant was involved in drug trafficking; (2) police observed defendant unload grocery bags from his van into his garage; (3) police stopped defendant in his van and immediately frisked him for weapons; (4) finding no weapons, police obtained consent to search defendant’s garage; (5) finding no contraband or firearms in defendant’s garage, police took possession of defendant’s van, car keys and cell-phone and told defendant he was free to go; and (6) defendant eventually consented to search of his home where drugs and firearm were found. Police failed to conduct valid Terry stop, where they observed no exigent circumstances prior to his initial stop and frisk, and where information supplied by tipster was essentially uncorroborated, where police had only verified defendant’s name and address prior to his stop. Also, police’s continued detention after defendant’s initial stop and frisk served to undermine validity of his eventual consent to search his home. Ct. further rejected govt. claim that police could have seized defendant at anytime and anywhere based on information given by tipster, who had failed to cooperate with police after he had relayed his tip.
U.S. v. Lopez, No. 17-2517 (October 18, 2018) N.D. Ill., E. Div. Reversed and remanded