Lane, Damion Montrece, 2015-CA-001698, Reversing/remanding. 11/4/2016. To be published.
Damion Lane plead guilty in a conditional plea to first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense, tampering with physical evidence and disregarding a stop sign. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, probated. He appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence discovered after a traffic stop.
The Court of Appeals held that even though the officer that pulled over Lane had a K-9 unit in his cruiser, the fact that the stop was extended so as to conduct a sniff was violative as the officers had no reasonable articulable suspicion of drug-related activity.
Analyzing the stop under the standard set out in Commonwealth v. Bucalo, 422 S.W.3d 253 (Ky. 2013), the Court found that the sniff was in no way related to the purpose for which he was stopped, having run a stop sign; did extend the traffic stop, even if for a few seconds; and that there was no reasonable articulable suspicion of drug-related activity to justify the sniff, stated factors of being in a “high-crime neighborhood” and Lane’s fumbling movements while waiting for the officer’s approach and the officer’s “hunch” something was afoot were not sufficient to create suspicion.
Trial counsel was James Chamberlain, DPA-Hopkinsville. Linda Roberts Horsman of the Appeals Branch represented Mr. Lane on appeal.