Friday, November 09, 2007

Unbuckled seatbelts and prior gun case do not justify "officer safety" patdown

Drugs found in "officer safety" pat-down were properly suppressed. No reason to believe that driver and passenger (defendant Wilson) were armed or dangerous, and therefore no reason to pat down defendant Wilson, when they are pulled over for seatbelt violations, even though the driver was rambling to police and admitted that he previously served federal time on a gun charge. The opinion also notes that the "officer safety" concern in traffic stops arises not solely from the person in the stopped car, but also from accidental injury from passing traffic. US v. Wilson, No. 06-6339 (6th Cir. 10/29/07)