Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Post-Hoc Testimony Re Tint Not Basis for Reasonable Suspicion; Tip About Firearms in Car Not Sufficient

In United States v. Lewis, 2012 WL 556065 (Feb. 22, 2012), a reasonable suspicion / traffic stop case, the Circuit held: (1) that testimony regarding the illegal tint on the windows of defendant's vehicle did not provide non-testifying police officer reasonable suspicion to justify a traffic stop, as there was no evidence that the officer observed a traffic violation arising from tint prior to initiating stop; and (2) a tip from a known source that there were firearms in a white vehicle with the numbers 181 in the license plate did not provide the police officer reasonable suspicion of criminal activity necessary to justify an automobile stop. The tip did not include any information as to whether possession of firearms was illegal or whether they were being used in a criminal manner. (Note: Virgin Islands case, not unlawful to possess firearm).

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