Friday, October 28, 2005

US v. Collins

No. 04-50065 (10-28-05). The 9th affirmed a suppression of evidence based on an illegal arrest. The Secret Service was investigating stolen treasury checks. A CI reported that Pass wanted to sell him $400,000 worth of stolen checks. There were several meetings, and a rendezvous point was set, at an office building between the CI, Pass, and "others". The parking lot was under surveillance Pass was parked in one car. One car then drove up besides him in the parking lot, and another car almost at the same time drove up on the other side. Some later identified as Flores got out of one car and met with Pass. He went with Pass to meet the CI. Someone else then appeared -- the defendnat here, Collins. No one though knew where he came from. He wasn't seen exiting either of the cars (although his datebook was later found in Flores' vehicle). Defendant spoke with another driver, and then went into a fast food restaurant. He was arrested when he came out (Flores and Pass were picked up when they entered the office building). The district court found discrepancies between the audio portion of the surveillance and the testimony, and concluded that credibility was at issue. In any event, as the 9th found, "probable cause" is not a high standard, but it must connect the defendant to the possible offense. here, no one could say where the defendant came from, and his actions, talking to a driver in the parking lot and going to a fast food restaurant (Quizino's) didn't meet probable cause. the 9th found Pringle, the Supremes case with the passenger and dope (and arrest of all three) distinguishable because there was a private car there, and a limited pool of suspects, along with evidence throughout the car. here, it was a public parking lot at day, with cars coming and going.


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