People v. LinnAnnotate this Case
The Napa County District Attorney charged Linn with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol. Linn successfully moved to suppress evidence, claiming she had been unlawfully detained before the police obtained the evidence. The appellate division reversed, concluding Linn’s encounter with the officer who arrested her was consensual until he reasonably suspected she had been driving under the influence. The court of appeal rejected a bright-line rule about an officer’s taking of a voluntarily offered identification card, but found substantial evidence that the officer’s actions in their totality constituted an assertion of his coercive authority before he had any reasonable suspicion to detain Linn. These actions included: stopping within three feet of Linn as she exited her vehicle to talk about her passenger’s flicking ashes out of the vehicle’s window; asking her for her driver’s license without explanation as he commanded her to put out her cigarette and put down her soda can; retaining her driver’s license as he conducted an unexplained record check; and questioning the passenger for personal details that the officer recorded. No objectively reasonable person would believe she was free to end the encounter under the totality of these circumstances, regardless of the officer’s polite demeanor and relatively low-key approach.