United States v. Rochin, No. 11-2024 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant Ivan Rochin argued that his constitutional rights were violated following a traffic stop in which the arresting officer frisked him and confiscated several items from his pockets. In his appeal, Defendant asked the Tenth Circuit to suppress the items the officer found and to dismiss the charges against him following the encounter. Specifically, Defendant argued that the arresting officer violated the Fourth Amendment because he removed the items from Defendant's pockets for inspection when he had no idea what they were. "This argument makes the common mistake of emphasizing the officer's (subjective) state of mind." Holding that the officer's subjective knowledge was legally irrelevant ("a reasonable officer isn’t credited with x-ray vision and can’t be faulted for having failed to divine the true identity of the objects"), the Tenth Circuit found that following a review of the record that the officer performed a lawful protective frisk of Defendant. As such, Defendant's constitutional rights were not violated, and the Court affirmed the charges levied against him.