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United States v. King
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
332 Fed. Appx. 334 (2009)
Two police officers observed a car idling outside of a known gang hangout, and then followed the car, planning to pull it over if the driver committed a traffic violation. Eventually, the driver failed to signal a turn at least 200 feet before an intersection, and the officers initiated a traffic stop. The car pulled over after driving half a block. As Officer Lichtsinn approached the passenger’s side, he saw the passenger, King (defendant), moving his shoulders and possibly putting something between the seat and door. As Officer Hoffman approached the driver’s side, he noticed that the driver had his hand under his right leg. Hoffman repeatedly ordered both car occupants to show their hands, but neither occupant complied. At that point, Lichtsinn feared for his safety and opened the passenger door to check for accessible weapons. Lichtsinn saw King’s hand resting on a gun between the seat and car door. Lichtsinn yelled “gun” and forced King out of the car. King was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. At King’s motion to suppress, he argued that the officers engaged in an unlawful vehicle search by opening the passenger door. The district court denied the motion, and King pleaded guilty and then appealed the denial of suppression motion.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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