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Expectation of Privacy — Automobile Passenger — “Standing” to Challenge Stop

State v. Anthony Harris, 206 Wis. 2d 243, 557 N.W.2d 245 (1996), reversing unpublished decision of court of appeals
For Harris: Robert J. Diaz

Issue: Whether passenger who is not target of vehicle stop has standing to challenge its lawfulness.


… [M]ost of the federal circuit courts have held that a traffic stop of a vehicle constitutes a seizure of any of the passengers. People v. Bell, 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d 115, 119 (Ct. App. 1996). … In Bell, the court held that the detention of the driver on a traffic violation stop was equally a detention of the passenger. 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 122. Therefore, the passenger in Bell was detained and had standing to challenge the lawfulness of the driver’s detention. Id. …Recognizing the growing trend in other state and federal jurisdictions, and more importantly, recognizing that when a passenger rides in a vehicle he or she does not surrender the Fourth Amendment and art. I, sec. 11 right against unreasonable seizure, we now adopt the bright line rule described in Bell. Moreover, we apply this rule to all police-initiated vehicle stops, finding no rational distinction, for standing purposes, between the rights of passengers in a traffic stop and the rights of passengers in an investigatory stop. We hold that when police stop a vehicle, all of the occupants of that vehicle are seized and have standing to challenge the stop.

What, though, of the slight but recurrent variant of a lawful stop but an unlawful continuing detention? On that issue there is authority that no similar bright-line rule exists, that the passenger must show a connection between his continued (unlawful) detention and the seized evidence, e.g., See, e.g., U.S. v. Ladeaux, 10th Cir No. 05-8097, 7/12/06; U.S. v. DeLuca, 269 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir 2001); U.S. v. Pulliam, 9th Cir No. 03-50550, 4/21/05 — for detailed discussion distinguishing that sort of situation from an illegal-at-inception stop, see U.S. v. Mosely, 3rd Cir No. 05-1519, 7/21/06 (standard fruits analysis applies, without need to show factual nexus between police illegality and seized evidence). State v. Baker, 2008 UT App 115 (“from the moment the officers placed the driver under arrest, Baker, a passenger in the driver’s vehicle, was unlawfully detained”).


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