United States v. Lopez, No. 15-3130 (10th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants Adrienne Lopez and Angela Lopez (not related) apealed their convictions and sentences on charges of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to do so. After review, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals did not address most of their arguments because the Court agreed with them that the methamphetamine found in their car had to be suppressed: they were properly stopped because Angela was speeding, but the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to continue their detention to obtain a drug-detection dog after he issued Angela a warning and Defendants refused to consent to a search of their vehicle. As alternative grounds for affirming the admission of the evidence, the government argued: (1) that Adrienne could not complain of the search because it was not a fruit of her detention; and (2) that the continued detention was lawful anyway because there was probable cause to arrest Angela for driving without a license. The Court rejected both arguments: the search of the vehicle was based on the dog’s alert to marijuana in Adrienne’s purse and the police dispatcher informed the officer on the scene that Angela had a valid license.