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When is RS not RS?

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  • When is RS not RS?

    "Just saw an episode of cops"...

    The officer tried to pull over a silver Subaru legacy that he suspected of being stolen because "the rear window was down but was leaning over at a strange angle and appeared to have been pulled down and out of it's tracks." (or words to that effect).


    Thing is, my wife has exactly the same car, and I just went out to the garage, wound the rear window down, and found that the "strange angle" is normal for that model of car. As the window winds down the leading edge drops down further than the trailing edge becuase of the location of the rear wheel.

    So, as it turns out, this officer initiated a traffic stop based upon an observation that he thought was suspicious but that turns out to be normal. He WAS right about the car being stolen.

    So, what impact does this have on the current arrest, and any future stops that this officer might make based upon the 'strange angle' claim?

    Can the stop be ruled improper based upon the fact that the suspicious activity was actually normal? Or does the fact that the officer made the stop in good faith override the fact that he was mistaken?

  • #2
    It's not our job to know what's normal on every make and model. It's enough that the officer can articulate why he had a suspicion. The fact that it turns out that every one of these vehicles looks like that, is irrelevant unless the officer has prior knowledge of that fact.

    Now, if the guy was cited or arrested for something an officer thought was illegal that in fact turned out to be legal, the case will be thrown out. The officer, however, will not be in trouble because he acted in good faith. (If he were to KEEP doing it, that would be a no-no!)
    If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

    ---Jack Handey

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    • #3
      If he is supposed to know everything he would have PC all the time, not RS. As long as you can articulate why you did what you did you're ok.
      Perseverate In Pugna

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Narco944 View Post
        If he is supposed to know everything he would have PC all the time, not RS. As long as you can articulate why you did what you did you're ok.
        Well said.
        “We don't disagree, you are wrong. Until you have a clue what you are talking about we can't disagree.” - cgh6366

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JohnG View Post
          "Just saw an episode of cops"...

          The officer tried to pull over a silver Subaru legacy that he suspected of being stolen because "the rear window was down but was leaning over at a strange angle and appeared to have been pulled down and out of it's tracks." (or words to that effect).


          Thing is, my wife has exactly the same car, and I just went out to the garage, wound the rear window down, and found that the "strange angle" is normal for that model of car. As the window winds down the leading edge drops down further than the trailing edge becuase of the location of the rear wheel.

          So, as it turns out, this officer initiated a traffic stop based upon an observation that he thought was suspicious but that turns out to be normal. He WAS right about the car being stolen.

          So, what impact does this have on the current arrest, and any future stops that this officer might make based upon the 'strange angle' claim?

          Can the stop be ruled improper based upon the fact that the suspicious activity was actually normal? Or does the fact that the officer made the stop in good faith override the fact that he was mistaken?
          I can tell you that episode happened in Pittsburgh back in the early 90s, at the point where gang crime was on the major rise.
          Was it reasonable for that officer to attempt to pull him over? YES, based on his training and experience, I can tell you he led the department with stolen car arrests, he thought the car was stolen. If it wasnt and the driver stopped like he should have then he never woulda went to jail.
          I got nothing for now

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          • #6
            Understood - I know that the officer's actions, being in good faith, were 100% justified. Just wondering if the BG's lawyer can say there was a problem with the stop because of the whole window thing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JohnG View Post
              Just wondering if the BG's lawyer can say there was a problem with the stop because of the whole window thing.
              Sure he can and probably will. In fact, most lawyers will challenge everything. Doesn't mean the judge will agree though.
              “We don't disagree, you are wrong. Until you have a clue what you are talking about we can't disagree.” - cgh6366

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              • #8
                RS uses the resonable PEACE OFFICER standard, based on an officer's knowledge, training, and experience, not the reasonable PERSON standard.

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