Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Walking the Dog

US v. Burleson, -- F.3d --, 2011 WL 4015679 (10th Cir. 9/12/11) (NM) - The COA reverses the grant of suppression by Judge Vazquez, who had ruled that the officer improperly checked for warrants after he had already satisfied the suspicion underlying the stop. The COA decides the officer who stopped three pedestrians walking down the middle of a Roswell street, one of them carrying a pit bull without a leash, lawfully performed a warrants check during a proper Terry investigatory stop, which led to discovery of an outstanding warrant for Mr. Burleson and to his illegal possession of guns and ammunition. An officer is entitled to ask a suspect to identify himself and to do a warrant check, whether the stop involves a motorist or a pedestrian. This furthers the important government interest in determining whether a suspect is wanted for another offense or has a record of violence or a mental disorder that might lead to violent activity that could put the officer's safety at risk.