Commonwealth v. BlakeAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized from her vehicle during a traffic stop was proper.
In her suppression motion, Defendant argued that the traffic stop of her vehicle was not justified because she was not required to have her license plate illuminated when Sergeant James Jenkins pulled her over. The Commonwealth acknowledged that a license plate violation may not have been a proper basis for the stop but that Detective Wade Shoemaker had reasonable suspicion of Defendant’s participation in controlled drug buys, and Det. Shoemaker’s reasonable suspicion to stop Defendant’s vehicle transferred to Sgt. Jenkins so as to justify the traffic stop. The trial court concluded that no traffic violation occurred but that law enforcement had reasonable suspicion to pull over Defendant’s vehicle. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that because Sgt. Jenkins did not actually rely on Det. Shoemaker’s information and instead made the stop based solely on the license plate violation, the collective knowledge doctrine was irrelevant. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the record reflected that the real reason Sgt. Jenkins pulled over Defendant’s vehicle was upon Det. Shoemaker’s request, and because Det. Shoemaker had reasonable suspicion to make the investigatory stop, suppression of the evidence was not required.