Mere Encounter Escalates Into Investigative Detention

by | Oct 21, 2010

In a recent opinion in Commonwealth v. Hudson, 2010 PA Super 96, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that what began as a mere encounter escalated into an investigative detention when a police officer in Reading, Pennsylvania, took a defendant’s identification back to his patrol car to run the defendant for outstanding warrants. The Court held that no reasonable person would have felt free to leave in that situation, and accordingly suppressed the evidence that was seized as the result of the arrest.

This case represents an all-to-familiar situation where a criminal attorney should keep a watchful eye on the testimony of a police officer even where he or she testifies that a defendant was “free to leave at any time”. That’s never the case. This was good work by the criminal lawyer on this case.

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