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4th Circuit: A known suspicious person shifting around in a car does not a lawful stop make

Mar 03, 2011 4th Circuit: A known suspicious person shifting around in a car does not a lawful stop make

Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit issued a great opinion reversing a drug conviction on a finding of no reasonable articulable suspicion to stop a suspect, where the stop was mainly based on law enforcement’s being familiar with his past criminal history, believing the suspect was acting uncomfortable in seeing people he knew to be law enforcement, and with his shifting around a lot in the car (where the court acknowledged that we also reasonably shift around for such innocent activity as looking for a lost item on the floor of the car). U.S. v. Foster, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., March 2, 2011).  

Foster gets in the following great jab at the prosecution: "[W]e are deeply troubled by the way in which the Government attempts to spin these largely mundane acts into a web of deception." 

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