People v. Cummings

Defendant was driving a van owned by Chattic when a marked police squad car pulled alongside at a stop sign. The police officer followed defendant for several minutes before activating the squad car’s lights. The defendant had not violated any traffic laws. The citations he received were unrelated to the movement or condition of the van. The officer testified that “It appeared that the registration on the vehicle had expired.” He checked its registration and learned that the registration was valid, but that the owner, Chattic, was wanted on a warrant. He was unable to determine whether the driver was a woman. After he determined that the driver was a man, the officer asked the defendant for a driver’s license and proof of insurance and explained why he stopped the van. The defendant had no license and received a citation for driving while license suspended, 625 ILCS 5/6-303(d), a Class 4 felony. According to the officer, asking for a license and proof of insurance is “standard operating procedure. The trial court granted a motion to suppress. The appellate court affirmed, stating “Except where there is articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or the vehicle is unregistered, or that either the motorist or vehicle is in violation of the law, stopping and detaining a motorist in order to check his credentials is unreasonable under the fourth amendment.” The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Unless a request for identification is related to the reason for the stop, it impermissibly extends the stop and violates the Constitution. View "People v. Cummings" on Justia Law