S.D.W.Va.: Dispatch’s mistake of fact def’s vehicle was unregistered did not make stop unreasonable

Defendant challenged one basis for his stop, an inspection sticker. However, dispatch also said the vehicle was unregistered and that’s a valid reason. It turned out, however, it was validly registered. “It does not matter that Defendant’s vehicle was in fact registered. ‘“[B]ecause sufficient probability, not certainty, is the touchstone of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment,” an officer’s reasonable mistake of fact does not vitiate the Fourth Amendment validity of a traffic stop.’ United States v. Davis, No. 20-4315, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 688, 2022 WL 94529, at *1 (4th Cir. Jan. 10, 2022) (quoting Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797, 804, 91 S. Ct. 1106, 28 L. Ed. 2d 484 (1971)). Dispatch (albeit mistakenly) informed Officer Wilson that the vehicle’s registration was expired, so Officer Wilson’s mistake of fact was also reasonable and the traffic stop was not without probable cause. Therefore, the traffic stop would have been justified at its inception based on the registration alone.” United States v. Taylor, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208729 (S.D. W.Va. Nov. 17, 2022). [Compared to the recalled warrant cases, this makes sense. One can still not like the outcome, however.]

The parties agree to a stay of proceedings pending appeal of Lindell v. United States, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200225 (D. Minn. Nov. 3, 2022) (posted here). Lindell v. United States, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208443 (D. Minn. Nov. 17, 2022).

Substantial evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion defendant did not voluntarily consent to a blood draw in a BWI case, and there was no search warrant. State v. Hamilton, 2022 Fla. App. LEXIS 7837 (Fla. 1st DCA Nov. 16, 2022).*

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