GA: Trial court failed to consider state’s alternative ground to sustain search; remanded

Defendant filed a motion to suppress and that put the state on notice that it had to prove the ordinance under which it prosecutes. The state failed to prove it up, but its backup argument was that the officer relied on the smell of marijuana, and the trial court erred in suppressing without addressing that. Remanded. State v. Alford, 2018 Ga. App. LEXIS 488 (Aug. 24, 2018).

Summary by the court: “We conclude that the police officer conducting the traffic stop had reasonable suspicion to extend the stop when Santillan and the driver appeared nervous and were unable to provide information about where they were coming from. The stop did not ripen into a de facto arrest because the police officer used reasonable methods and intrusions to confirm or dispel his suspicions. Although certain evidence was improperly seized during a frisk, the physical evidence would have inevitably been discovered and thus suppression was not warranted. While accompanying statements should have been suppressed, the error was harmless.” United States v. Santillan, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23962 (2d Cir. Aug. 24, 2018).*

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