United States v. Feliciana, No. 18-4703 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Defendant pleaded guilty to operating a commercial vehicle without a permit and entered a conditional guilty plea to a marijuana charge, reserving the right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion.
The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress, holding that the Government has not carried its burden to show that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop defendant or that the stop was a valid administrative inspection under New York v. Burger, 482 U.S. 691 (1987). In this case, absent articulable suspicion that defendant lacked the required permit to drive on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the officer was not entitled to stop defendant's vehicle at his discretion to check whether defendant possessed a permit. Furthermore, the officer was not acting pursuant to commercial trucking regulations when he stopped defendant's vehicle. Because the initial traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment, any evidence obtained from it, including the marijuana found in defendant's shoe, should have been suppressed. Therefore, the court vacated defendant's marijuana conviction and remanded.