|Search & Seizure
Hiland v. Trent, 868 N.E. 2d 396, Third District
Appellate Court (5/16/07).
People v. Williams, 858 N.E. 2nd 606. Illinois Appellate Court, Ist District.
United States v. Cherry, 436 F. 3d 769 ( C.A. 7, Ill., 2006)
People v. Miller, 824 N.E. 2d 1080 ,
Illinois 1st District Appellate Court (2-7-05).
HUDSON v. MICHIGAN. United States Supreme Court, June 2006. 126 S. Ct. 2159
People v. Dieppa, 357 Ill.
App. 3d 847
ILLINOIS v. CABALLES. U.S.
Supreme Court (1/25/05)
writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Illinois. 03-923
DEVENPECK et al. v. ALFORD No.
People v. Parra, 352 Ill. App.
3d 584, 817 N.E. 2d 141 ( 2d Dist., 10/12/04)
People v. Travis Smith, 346
Ill. App. 3d 146, 803 N.E. 2d 1074
People v. Starbuck, 358 Ill
App. 3d 234 (3rd Dist. 2005)
People v. Mendoza, 846 N.E. 2d 169 (2d Dist App. Ct.,
People v. Frederick Hampton, 358 Ill App. 3d 1029 (2d Dist 2005)
and People v. Shinara Mathews, 357 Ill App. 3d 1062 (3rd Dist. 2005)
DEVENPECK et al. v. ALFORD
(Slip opinion dated 12/13/04; No. 03-710)
In the United States Supreme Court:
certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The import of the United States Supreme Court’s decision here is that it
rejected the 9th Circuit Appellate Court’s finding that the first
determined reason State patrolmen had to arrest the defendant (based on his
failure to come up with acceptable answers to his “wanna-be-a-cop” actions that
made them believe he was impersonating a police officer, and obstructing their
investigation) was not “closely related” to the revealed reason for his
arrest—that is, because he recorded their conversation at the scene of the
While many defense attorneys and their clients would embrace the “closely
related offense” rule, stated by the 9th Circuit, law enforcement
will find this Supreme Court ruling to be another feather in its hat, adding to
the ever-growing police powers and “chipping away” of 4th Amendment
protections. That is not to say that the Justices lack a sound rationale for
this decision, when it is noted that implementing the “closely related offense”
rationale could lead to corruption of the constitutionality of an arrest under
a given set of known facts because it would “vary from place to place and from
time to time, depending on whether the arresting officer states the reason for
the detention and, if so, whether he correctly identifies a general class of
offense for which probable cause exists. An arrest made by a knowledgeable
veteran officer would be valid, whereas an arrest made by a rookie in
precisely the same circumstances would not.” [citing Whren v. U.S., 517
U.S. 806, 815]
Several prior Supreme Court rulings re: decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia provided the seeds for the objective standard of
conduct embodied in this decision.
A reading of the full text of this case is a must for all, including those
concerned with search and seizures that may turn up a firearm,
considering malicious motivation may be behind a “stop” when it is justified
only by a purported offense that is not closely related to , and not based on
the same conduct as, the offense the arresting officer identifies as the basis
for the arrest. Although this argument was rejected in Whren v. United States,
517 U.S. 806 (1996) as pointed out in this case, it certainly raises serious
questions for 4th Amendment advocates. In any event, it's tough to
argue with a U.S. Supreme Court 8-0 decision.
The driver of a vehicle equipped with “wig-wag” headlights, who had initially
stopped to assist a motorist with a flat tire, and then drove away hurriedly
when a police car approached, was subsequently stopped by a State patrol
officer on suspicion that the defendant was impersonating a police officer.
During the stop, the patrolman noticed handcuffs and a hand-held police scanner
in the vehicle, and defendant had been listening to a county sheriff’s office
police frequency on a special radio. This scenario, and his failure to provide
satisfactory answers to questioning , bolstered the patrolman’s suspicion that
defendant was impersonating a police officer. When a back-up supervisor found
the defendant taping their conversation he arrested him for a violation of the
Washington State Privacy Act, and issued a ticket for the flashing headlights.
The officers’ basis for the arrest (that he was imperson-ating an officer) was
not disclosed to defendant and he was not charged with that offense.
Lower state and federal court decisions:
The State Court dismissed both charges, and defendant then filed a 1983 civil
rights violation action against the patrolmen in Federal District Court with a
state cause of action for unlawful arrest and imprisonment “resting upon the
allegation that the [patrolmen] arrested him without probable cause in
violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments.” The jury
returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the patrolmen, and on appeal a divided
Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed, finding “no
evidence to support the jury’s verdict,” and that the offense which formed the
basis for the arrest (the impersonation of an officer) was not “closely
related” to the offense stated by the officer at the time of the arrest. “The
majority rejected the [officers’] claim that probable cause existed to arrest
the defendant for impersonating a law enforcement officer. 333 F. 3d at
U.S. Supreme Court decision:
The Supreme Court granted certiorari. Addressing the Appellate Court’s finding
on the issue of probable cause for the arrest, the justices found no basis in
precedent or reason for the limitation in the Appellate Court’s finding that
the probable cause inquiry is confined to the known facts bearing upon the
offense actually invoked at the time of arrest, and that (in addition) the
offense supported by these known facts must be “closely related” to the offense
that the officer invoked.
The Court found that the “closely related offense” standard calls for
subjective reasoning, and is inconsistent with its holding in Whren v United
States, 517 U.S. 806, 812-813 (1996), where it held that “an arresting
officer’s state of mind (except for the facts he knows) is irrelevant to the
existence of probable cause.” The following are highlights of the opinion
delivered by Justice Scalia (with some omissions not noted in the quoted
"This case presents the question whether an arrest is lawful under the Fourth
Amendment when the criminal offense for which there is probable cause to arrest
is not “closely related” to the offense stated by the arresting officer at the
time of the arrest.
“. . . [The] subjective reason for making the arrest need not be the criminal
offense as to which the known facts provide probable cause. As we have
repeatedly explained, ‘the fact that the officer does not have the state of
mind that is hypothecated by the reasons which provide the legal justification
for the officers’ action does not invalidate the action taken as long as the
circumstances, viewed objectively, justify that action.’ Whren, supra,
at 813 (quoting Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 138 (1978)).
“. . . [T]he “closely related offense” rule is condemned by its perverse
consequences. While it is assuredly good police practice to inform a person of
the reason for his arrest at the time he is taken into custody, we have never
held that to be constitutionally required.3 Hence, the
predictable consequence of the [closely related offense rule] is not, as
[defendant] contends, that officers will cease making sham arrests on the hope
that such arrests will later be validated, but rather, that officers will cease
providing reasons for arrest. And even if this option were to be foreclosed by
adoption of a statutory or constitutional requirement, officers would simply
give every reason for which probable cause could conceivably exist.
“ The facts of this case exemplify the arbitrary consequences of a “closely
related offense” rule. Officer Haner’s initial stop of [defendant] was
motivated entirely by the suspicion that he was impersonating a police officer.
App. 106. Before pulling [defendant] over, Haner indicated by radio that this
was his concern; during the stop Haner asked [defendant] whether he was
actively employed in law enforcement and why his car had wig-wag headlights;
and when sergeant Devenpeck arrived, Haner told him why he thought [defendant]
was a “wannabe cop,” id. at 98. In addition, in the course of interrogating
[defendant], both officers became convinced that he was not answering their
questions truthfully and, with respect to the wig-wag headlights, that he was
affirmatively trying to mislead them. Only after these suspicions had developed
did Devenpeck discover the taping, place [defendant] under arrest, and offer
the Privacy Act as the reason. Because of the “closely related offense” rule,
Devenpeck’s actions render irrelevant both Haner’s developed suspicions that
[defendant] was impersonating a police officer and the officers’ shared belief
that [he] obstructed their investigation. If Haner, rather than Devenpeck, had
made the arrest, on the stated basis of his suspicions; if Devenpeck had not
abided the county’s policy against “stacking” charges; or if either officer had
made the arrest without stating the grounds, the outcome under the “closely
related offense” rule might well have been different. We have consistently
rejected a conception of the Fourth Amendment that would produce such haphazard
results. See Whren, 517 U.S. at 815.
* * * *
“ [Defendant] contended below that [the officers] lacked probable cause to
arrest him for obstructing a law enforcement officer or for impersonating a law
enforcement officer. Because the Court of Appeals held that those offenses were
legally irrelevant, it did not decide the question. We decline to engage in
this inquiry for the first time here. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of
the Ninth Circuit and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with
“It is so ordered.”
Note: The Chief Justice took no part in the decision of this case.
3 Even absent a requirement that an
individual be informed of the reason for arrest when he is taken
into custody, he will not be left to wonder for long” [P]ersons
arrested without a warrant must promptly be brought before a neutral
magistrate for a judicial determination of probable cause.” County of Riverside
v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 53 (1991).
The information provided herein is not intended as legal advice, and should not
be interpreted as such. The author of this site has and will make efforts to
assure that the information he presents in the portions of the content he
authors on this site is accurate. The viewer, however, is cautioned that
because of the complexity of the material and ever-changing laws, regulations
and court decisions, the author may have little or no control over the accuracy
of the material and, irrespective of any control, Quilici makes no
representation or guarantee as to the accuracy, quality, content, or legality
of said information. The viewer, therefore, acknowledges that any use of this
Website and reliance upon any materials shall be at your sole risk and that
Quilici shall not be liable for any loss of data, lost profits or any other
damages or losses resulting from such use. Users, therefore, are urged
to independently verify the information on this site.
Quilici reserves the right to revise any or all of the materials on this
Website and/or to modify any features, materials or specifics without notice.
All matters relating to this Website shall be governed by the laws of the State