People v. FewsAnnotate this Case
San Francisco Officers Vannucchi and Vidulich saw an SUV in front of their marked patrol car speed up and then “abruptly” stop in a red zone. A check showed the SUV’s registration was expired. Vidulich activated his lights. The SUV's driver, Mims, quickly got out of the car. Vidulich repeatedly asked Mims to get back into the SUV; Mims did not comply. As Vidulich approached, Mims stood “reaching back into the vehicle,” while Fews was in the passenger seat making “furtive movements ... low on his body.” Vidulich smelled “recently burned marijuana. Mims admitted there was marijuana in his cigar, then reached into the passenger compartment again despite being told not to. Fews continued his “furtive” movements. Vidulich believed that Fews might be reaching for something, possibly a weapon. The area is known for narcotics sales and related shootings. Fews complied with a command to exit the vehicle. Vannucchi performed a patsearch, thinking Fews’s baggy clothing could conceal a weapon. Fews’s pocket contained a loaded semiautomatic gun. A magistrate denied Fews’s motion to suppress, finding the officers had probable cause to search the SUV, and concluded that Vannucchi’s patsearch of Fews was justified for officer safety. Fews pleaded guilty as a felon in possession and was sentenced to probation. The court of appeal affirmed the denials of the motion to suppress and of a motion to dismiss in which Fews claimed a delay in obtaining police body camera video after the hearing denied him due process.