United States v. Aquino, No. 11-1372 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The district court granted defendant's motion to suppress evidence discovered on his person during an encounter with law enforcement officers at the bus depot. The government appealed contending that the evidence was lawfully obtained as a result of a consensual encounter. The officer's act of immediately searching defendant's body underneath his clothing, rather than conducting a pat down, exceeded the permissible scope of Terry. As a result, the officer's conduct in handcuffing defendant and searching under his clothing must be analyzed as an arrest which required probable cause, rather than as an investigatory detention which required reasonable suspicion. Therefore, the court held that, under the facts of the case, the officer did not have probable cause before performing the non-consensual search of defendant's person and thus the district court did not err in suppressing the evidence discovered during the search.