Issue (composed by On Point):
Whether an articulable suspicion or probable cause that a person has violated a statute punishable only by forfeiture can justify a warrantless seizure of the person?
A state trooper stopped Iverson’s jeep when he saw a cigarette butt being tossed from the passenger’s side. That qualifies as littering in violation of §287.81, but it isn’t a crime. Nor is it a traffic violation. Siding with the defense, the District 4 Court of Appeals held that a traffic stop based upon a non-traffic forfeiture offense is illegal. That decision contradicted a decision issued by the District 2 Court of Appeals just 2 days earlier. See our post on State v. Qualls. Bottom line: District 2 says an officer can make a traffic stop when he observes a cigarette butt being tossed from a car. District 4 says an officer can’t. The defendant petitioned for review in Qualls , and the State petitioned for review in Iverson. SCOW denied the former, but granted the latter. Uh oh.