United States v. Radford

Radford boarded a train in Flagstaff, to deliver heroin to Toledo. The train stopped in Galesburg. Officer Mings, who goes to the station daily to study passengers, noted indicators of drug trafficking. Radford had purchased a one-way ticket two days earlier, paying a premium for a roomette, and was traveling between locations associated with illegal drugs. Radford had been arrested seven years earlier for assisting undocumented aliens and for possessing marijuana. Mings, in uniform, knocked on Radford’s door and stated that he was doing “security checks” for ”illegal narcotics.” Radford answered Ming’s questions. He asked to search her luggage. Radford responded, “I guess so. You’re just doing your job.” He never advised Radford that she could refuse his requests. The search revealed heroin. The Seventh Circuit affirmed denial of her motion to suppress, finding that the encounter was consensual, not a seizure, and that Radford voluntarily consented to the search. Even with no basis for suspecting a particular individual, officers may pose questions, request identification, and request consent to search—"provided they do not induce cooperation by coercive means.” No seizure occurs if “a reasonable person would feel free to … terminate the encounter.” Rejecting claims of intimidation, the court noted Mings did not enter Radford’s roomette before her consent, told her why he wanted to search, and did not threaten Radford; there cannot be a rule that an "officer is forbidden to speak to a person of another race.” View "United States v. Radford" on Justia Law