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State v. Daniel Iverson, 2014AP515-FT, petition for review granted 1/16/15

Review of an unpublished court of appeals opinion; Click here for docket and briefs

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.

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