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Friday, January 19, 2007

Brendlin v. California - 4th Amendment cert grant

Seizure of Passenger in Vehicle During Traffic Stop. Brendlin v. California, 127 S. Ct. ___ (cert. granted Jan. 19, 2007); decision below at 136 P.3d 845 (Cal. 2006) (en banc). Defendant was a passenger in a vehicle driven by another that was subjected to a traffic stop. A search of the vehicle incident to the stop yielded contraband. The passenger entered a negotiated plea of guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine following denial of his motion to suppress the seized evidence The California Court of Appeal reversed, finding that defendant, as a passenger, could challenge the traffic stop, and that the traffic stop was unlawful. The California Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeal, holding that a passenger in a vehicle stopped by police is not seized as a constitutional matter in the absence of additional circumstances that would indicate to a reasonable person that he was the subject of officer’s investigation or show of authority. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the question: Is a passenger in a vehicle stopped by police seized as a constitutional matter in the absence of additional circumstances that would indicate to a reasonable person that he was the subject of officer’s investigation or show of authority?