Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Later Discovery of an Outstanding Arrest Warrant Does Not Remove Taint from an Illegal Stop

In United States v. Gross, the Sixth Circuit amends an earlier published opinion, United States v. Gross, 624 F.3d 309 (6th Cir. October 19, 2010). The Gross case is the second to involve the same officer blocking a legally-parked car in a high-crime area to detain the occupants.

Easily finding the officer made an illegal stop, the Sixth Circuit held that the subsequent discovery of an outstanding arrest warrant does not dissipate the taint of an illegal stop. The amended opinion does not change this holding.

The amended opinion, at page 15, adds two paragraphs in response to the dissenting opinion. The dissent argued that the observation of an open container in the car (after the police blocked the car and approached the vehicle) sufficiently attenuated the evidence from the illegal stop. The majority amended its opinion to address this specific argument, pointing out that the open container itself was a fruit of the illegal stop and not a "new, distinct crime."

The dissenting opinion of Gibbons is also amended to remove part B of the original dissenting opinion and replacing it with a short paragraph at the beginning of the dissenting opinion.

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