Monday, February 19, 2018

KYSC - Blake - Traffic Stop

Commonwealthv. Blake, 2016-SC-346-DG, to be published

The Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision suppressing the evidence seized from the defendant’s car.  Two officers worked in conjunction to determine whether the defendant engaged in drug trafficking. The first officer sent a confidential informant to the same location on two occasions. Both times, the defendant pulled up in her car and spoke with a third party. The third party went in to a home. The confidential informant returned with drugs. The man at the home served as an intermediary between the defendant and the confidential information. The first officer did not want the defendant to connect his informant to the transactions, so he asked a second officer to stop the defendant’s vehicle. The second officer made the stop, claiming the defendant had failed to illuminate her license plate. This alleged traffic violation could not withstand scrutiny. 

The Court of Appeals ruled the drug evidence seized from the car must be suppressed. The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed holding the first officer’s suspicion of the defendant trafficking in drugs was shared/”transferred” to the second officer. This suspicion justified the traffic stop and the seizing of the drug evidence.

Contributed by Euva Blandford