IL: Dropping bottle when officer rolled down his window and said “come here” was not in response to a seizure

Defendant abandoned bottle of cannabis by dropping it when the officer rolled down his window and said “come here.” The court spends many paragraphs agreeing with the trial court that defendant hadn’t been seized at that point because it was a mere request and not a command. The officer was in the car and displayed no weapons. People v. Qurash, 2017 IL App (1st) 143412, 2017 Ill. App. LEXIS 141 (March 16, 2017):

[*P27] Listening to the language and tone used by all participants to the interaction and then deciding what was meant by the statement, what the speaker intended, and what the listener gleaned from the statement are functions of the trial court. We cannot take two words in isolation and make our own conclusions about what meaning was imparted. By doing so, without the benefit of hearing the witnesses testify to how officer Gregory said “come here” and without the benefit of seeing how the witnesses testified to the effect officer Gregory’s statement had, we would be completely disregarding the function and role of the trial court. See People v. Richardson, 234 Ill. 2d 233, 251, 917 N.E.2d 501, 334 Ill. Dec. 675 (2009) (recognizing the deferential standard of review for findings of fact and credibility determinations is “grounded in the reality that the circuit court is in a superior position to determine and weigh the credibility of the witnesses, observe the witnesses’ demeanor, and resolve conflicts in their testimony”). Trial courts are required to listen to all of the evidence and make findings of fact based on what they have heard, including whether “come here” was meant and received as a request. Here, the court determined the words “come here” were a request, and there is nothing in the record suggesting that determination was against the manifest weight of the evidence. See Almond, 2015 IL 113817, ¶ 55 (“[w]e afford great deference to the trial court’s findings of fact and will reverse those factual findings only if they are against the manifest weight of the evidence”).

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