W.D.Ky.: Bodycam video showed pretext, but there still was a factual and legal basis for stop

Officers on bodycam are talking about pretext, but there was, in fact, a factual and legal basis for the stop that makes pretext irrelevant. United States v. Jones, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219072 (W.D. Ky. Dec. 20, 2019):

The United States tendered to the Court nearly three hours of body camera footage. Throughout the footage, the officers candidly discuss their subjective motivations, goals, and “stats.” Yet whether the stop of Jones’ car was pretextual is irrelevant. See Whren, 517 U.S. at 813 (“Subjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable-cause Fourth Amendment analysis.”); United States v. Hill, 195 F.3d 258, 264 (6th Cir.1999) (“[A]n officer may stop a vehicle for a traffic violation when his true motivation is to search for contraband, as long as the officer had probable cause to initially stop the vehicle”)); see also United States v. Bailey, 302 F.3d 652, 656 (6th Cir. 2002) (“[I]t is irrelevant in this case whether the [officers’] initial stop of Bailey was “pretextual.’ The relevant question … is whether the [officers] had probable cause to stop Bailey for a traffic violation”). It follows, then, that, regardless of his motivation for making the stop, Officer Sholar had probable cause to stop Jones when he observed Jones fail to signal. See United States v. Colbert, No. 3:10-CR-151, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75838, 2011 WL 2746811, at *3 (W.D. Ky. July 13, 2011) (traffic stop lawful when officers observed defendant fail to use turn signal). Officer Sholar did not violate Jones’ constitutional rights when he pulled Jones over for failing to use his turn signal.

This entry was posted in Pretext. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.