Pennsylvania v. Cost (majority)Annotate this Case
Appellant Harold Cost was arrested for various firearms offenses and filed a motion to suppress. At a hearing, the lead investigating officer initially explained that he was patrolling a high crime area in Philadelphia in an unmarked vehicle at approximately 9 p.m., when his partner observed Appellant and three other individuals in an alley. The officer suspected "there might be something going on," circled the block and stoped his vehicle in front of the alleyway to investigate. The officer did not activate the vehicle's emergency sirens or lights, however, he announced "police" when exiting the vehicle. The issue this case presented was whether the officer's retention of an individual's identification card was a seizure in terms of the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the issue reduced to whether a reasonable person would feel free to ignore the police presence and proceed about his business while, amongst the other circumstances presented, the person is questioned by police as an officer continues to hold his identification and conducts a warrant check. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concurred with the suppression court that appellant was indeed seized.