US v. Grigg, No. 06-30368 (8-22-07). Loud music leads to sex, drugs, and guns . . . or so believe the police. Here, defendant was identified by an irate neighbor as someone who played his music loud when driving. The police leaped into action, trailing the defendant who was driving silently, foregoing a driver's license check or other further investigation, pulling him over on supposedly reasonable suspicion, whereupon a prohibited weapon was found. The district court said it was a close question as to reasonable suspicion, but denied the suppression motion. The 9th reversed and granted. Gould, joined by Paez and Rawlison, wrote that a balancing test set forth in the Supremes' Hensley, 469 US 221 (1985) controlled, and using that test, a court reviewing a stop to investigate a past misdemeanor or minor infraction must assess the potential risk to public safety associated with the nature of the offense. Drunk driving is different from loud music, which the 9th opined seemed a most innocuous offense.
Congratulations to AFPD Tom Monaghan, E.D. Wash and Idaho, for the win.
US v. Hurd, No. 06-30592 (8-24-07). The 9th (Smith joined by Goodwin and Reinhardt) affirm the denial of a suppression motion despite the fact that the paragraph describing the house to be searched was not initiated. The previous paragraphs, describing the defendant and the vehicle, were. The house was searched and crack, cocaine, a scale, and cash were found. The failure to initial the paragraph in the warrant describing the house was at most a technical defect and not a constitutional one. The judge signed the warrant at the end and an objective review indicates that the warrant was lawfully authorized.