Thursday, June 18, 2009

Legitimate traffic stop?

What was going on last night about 9:15PM, when several deputies were stopped with a car with five young adults in it on Route 31, just south of Route 176 in the Crystal Lake area? This happened roughly across the street from the Honda dealership and McDonald’s.

The driver was stopped and told his registration was expired. The deputies wanted to search the car, and the kids told them that they couldn’t search it.

Then a deputy reportedly told them that, because they refused to let the deputies search the car, it showed that “they were up to something,” and that gave the deputies “probable cause” to search the car.

At one point at least two of the boys were put up against the side of the car and searched. A girl’s purse was taken from her and the contents were dumped out on the ground. The witness also observed that deputies had drawn weapons.

One of the kids told the witness, “If we don’t give them what they want, one of us goes to jail.” A deputy reportedly told them that, if they “don’t answer questions perfectly, one of them was going to jail.”

The witness understood that the kids had been stopped on previous occasions.

No tickets were issued. No arrests were made. The witness inspected the license plate on the vehicle and noted that the registration was not expired.

Was a report written on last night’s traffic stop? There is only one way to find out. Stay tuned for more information.


Karen12359 said...

Let me get this straight ... An officer pulls me over for let's say, speeding. He asks if he can search my car, I say no. This gives the officer "probable cause" to search? Why bother asking at all, seems they will search the car if this is what they want to do.

Gus said...

If you say "No", the officer cannot search your car. If he wants to search it, he needs a warrant. Judges issue warrants.

My FOIA Request is already at the Sheriff's Department.

QuitWhiningAlready said...

Karen, there are certain circumstances the officer CAN search your vehicle without your consent without violating your 4th Amendment rights. Without going into too much via comments, "Reasonable Suspicion" and "Probable Cause" are the ones that apply here. You can more or less follow along with this doc, which may not be 100% current.

And this is for stats, not mandatory for officers to fill out.

A warrant is not always necessary. It varies from state to state, so you may want to do a little homework about IL before you accept the "pat answer" you were given that a warrant must be issued in order for the search.

And I will remind you that Gus is not a police officer.

Gus said...

But a Department could make completion of such a form mandatory. Just like for racial profiling. How else does a Department learn of abuses, if it does not require the information for every traffic stop or search?

The best way to find out if you must consent to a request to search is to get legal advice from your own attorney BEFORE you get stopped.

I photographed a man's vehicle which had been searched. The officers trashed the vehicle - needlessly and unnecessarily. They were nosy, intrusive, disrespectful, intentionally careless - and they found nothing.

Gus said...

"Hunches or generalized suspicions are not reasonable grounds for concluding that probable cause exists. Judges, not law officers, must determine if probable cause exists, and thus if a warrant should be issued."

For more informaiton, read this:

QuitWhiningAlready said...

I am not sure you should be considering to be a credible source for legal information, or anything else for that matter. And as I said, search/seizure varies from state to state and I do not believe that unless you can find something IL specific, you should take it at fact. Maybe you should call up a department with a dedicated traffic division and speak to a Lt. or Capt. or even a PIO might be able to help. The internet is full of incorrect information, isn't it?

Gus said...

I'll rely on the advice that my Illinois attorney gave me this morning, when I called to ask when an officer/deputy could search my car.

If I get stopped for a traffic violation, the officer has no "right" to search my car, unless he sees something suspicious (gun, drugs, bank money bag with bullet holes in it) "in plain view."

To protect himself if I am acting suspiciously, he can ask me to exit my vehicle and pat me down. That's "pat" me down, not dump all my property on the ground.

If he searches my car without my consent, he is acting illegally and subjects himself to complaint.

Caveat: Get legal advice from your own attorney. Do not ask a police officer for legal advice. But, if you are interested, ask a police officer for the procedures in place at his department.

QuitWhiningAlready said...

Considering the vehicle was occupied 5x, and according to the "witness", these individuals had been stopped previously, I would not jump to any conclusions that they were driving to a church youth group function. Again, two sides to every story and you have one. And Lord knows no one ever embellishes, especially when there's a complaint against the police!! The point is, you really don't know what happened, but the post leads readers to believe that it was a handful of jerk cops harassing kids in front of the McDonalds. You're a good writer, Gus. I will give you that. But you don't come across particularly objective, and sometimes people do not consider any of the other possibilities.

But I will agree with you on getting advice from your own attorney. Good advice, no matter who you are.