U.S. v Daniel – 8th Circuit (4APR2018)

U.S. v Daniel – 8th Circuit (4APR2018)

A store clerk at St. Joe’s General Store called 911 and described the gender and race of a person (black male) who robbed her at gunpoint and described the make, model and color of the automobile that was the getaway vehicle (white Chevrolet Suburban). Shortly thereafter, Perry County Sheriff’s Deputy Rusty Farrar responded to the call.  After only a couple of blocks, he noticed a white Suburban driving in the opposite direction in the oncoming lane. Deputy Farrar pursued and stopped the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle consented to the search which lead to the discovery of evidence used to convict the defendant of the robbery.

The Eighth Circuit upheld the stop of the vehicle (and subsequent plain view seizure of evidence of the robbery). The court noted that “An officer may conduct a Fourth Amendment stop to investigate a crime
only if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that that person had committed or was committing a crime.” United States v. Juvenile TK, 134 F.3d 899, 902 (8th Cir. 1998) (citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968)). The court further noted that “[T]he likelihood of criminal activity need not rise to the level required for probable cause, and it falls considerably short
of satisfying a preponderance of the evidence standard.” United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 274 (2002) (citing United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7 (1989)). When a traffic stop is based on a radio dispatch, factors such as “the temporal and geographic proximity of the car to the scene of the crime, [a] matching description of the vehicle, and the time of the
stop” are highly relevant to a finding of a reasonable suspicion.

In this case, the description of the vehicle along with the proximity in time (temporal) and place (geographic) of the vehicle matching the description to the location of the crime gave the deputy the requisite reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop under the judicially recognized exception (JRE) for warrantless seizures under the rule of law developed by Terry v. Ohio.

To download a full PDF version of the case, click here: U.S. v. Daniel