PEOPLE OF MI V GEORGE COOKAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
June 19, 1998
LC No. 97-005043
Before: Wahls, P.J., and Jansen and Gage, JJ.
Reversed and remanded for reinstatement. Plaintiff appeals as of right the trial court’s order
granting defendant’s motion to suppress and dismissing the charge. We reverse. This appeal is being
decided without oral argument pursuant to MCR 7.214(E).
Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle, MCL 750.227;
MSA 28.424. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence, and an evidentiary hearing was held. The
arresting officers testified that they approached defendant’s vehicle because it was standing in a no
parking or no standing zone. As they approached, defendant bent over, and placed something on the
floorboard. One of the officers saw the butt and slide of a handgun on the floor, and ordered defendant
out of the car. A neighbor testified that the officers approached from a different direction, that there
was another person in defendant’s car, and that people frequently stopped in front of her house. The
trial court found that the officers did not have a legal basis for approaching defendant’s car, and granted
the motion to suppress. When the prosecution could not go forward without the suppressed evidence,
the case was dismissed.
The trial court clearly erred in granting the motion to suppress. People v Shields, 200 Mich
App 554; 504 NW2d 711 (1993). There are three tiers of police-citizen encounters. People v
Shabaz, 424 Mich 42, 56; 378 NW2d 451 (1985). The first tier consists of an officer asking a person
questions in a public place. Officers do not violate the Fourth Amendment by merely approaching an
individual, identifying themselves as police officers, and putting questions to the individual. If there is no
detention, there is no seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Id.
This case initially presented a first tier contact. Officers approached defendant’s vehicle
ostensibly to issue a parking ticket. Even if a ticket was not merited, their approach did not constitute a
seizure. The nature of the encounter did not change until the officers saw a gun on the floorboard of
defendant’s vehicle. At that point, they had probable cause to arrest defendant, based on the plain view
of the weapon. People v Champion, 452 Mich 92; 549 NW2d 849 (1996). The trial court clearly
erred in granting the motion to suppress of the charge. We do not retain jurisdiction.
/s/ Myron H. Wahls
/s/ Kathleen Jansen
/s/ Hilda R. Gage