IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF
Appeal No. CRC 04-28 APANO
Opinion filed ___________________.
Appeal from a decision of the
County Judge Sonny Im
C. Marie King, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the State’s appeal of a decision by the trial court granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the decision of the trial court.
According to the testimony, at approximately 9:30 in the evening the police noticed the defendant and another man standing by the side of the street. The officer testified that he saw what he believed to be hand- to-hand contact between the two men
--- as if one had passed something to the other. The officer had extensive experience with drug enforcement and knew the area was a high-crime area. He believed the two men might be engaged in a drug transaction.
When he got out of the car the officer began to approach the defendant. The officer testified that the defendant started to run away once he appeared to have noticed that it was a police officer who was approaching him. The officer gave chase on foot and eventually caught the defendant. The officer testified that he smelled marijuana on the defendant. The defendant was ultimately arrested and searched. The search revealed marijuana.
trial court erroneously concluded that this set of facts did not provide the
police with reasonable suspicion to make a stop. The decisive factor in this
Court’s determination that the stop was proper is the fact that the defendant
ran away as soon as he realized that a police officer was approaching him. The
United States Supreme Court addressed this issue in the case of Illinois v.
Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (2000). In Wardlow, officers patrolling a
high-crime area observed the suspect turn and flee upon seeing them. The Court
held that the police had a reasonable suspicion to stop the suspect because of
his unprovoked flight in a high-crime area. The Court explained that, “Headlong
flight --- wherever it occurs --- is the consummate act of evasion,” and
“[f]light, by its very nature, is not ‘going about one’s business.’ “ 528
884 So.2d 271 (
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the order granting the defendant’s motion to suppress is reversed, and this matter is remanded to the trial court for action consistent with this Order and Opinion.
AND ORDERED in Chambers at
David A. Demers
Robert J. Morris, Jr.
Irene S. Sullivan
cc: State Attorney