United States v. Uribe, No. 11-3590 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Uribe was driving along I- 70 in Indiana, apparently in compliance with all traffic laws, in a vehicle that had no visible evidence of noncompliance with vehicle requirements other than that it was a blue Nissan with a registration number that traced back to a white Nissan. A deputy following Uribe’s car initiated a traffic stop “to check for registration compliance.” Uribe consented to a search of the vehicle, which yielded nearly a pound of heroin and indictment for possessing with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(i). The district court granted Uribe’s motion to suppress, finding the government’s explanations insufficient to establish that at the time of the stop the deputy had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Uribe was engaged in criminal activity. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that one lawful act in isolation, driving a car of one color with a registration number attached to a car of a different color, does not give rise to reasonable suspicion that a driver is engaged in criminal activity.