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State v. McCrickert

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

February 7, 2017

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Brian A. McCrickert, appellant.

         1. Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure: Motions to Suppress: Appeal and Error. In reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress based on a claimed violation of the Fourth Amendment, an appellate court applies a two-part standard of review. Regarding historical facts, an appellate court reviews the trial court's findings for clear error, but whether those facts trigger or violate Fourth Amendment protections is a question of law that an appellate court reviews independently of the trial court's determination.

         2. Investigative Stops: Motor Vehicles: Probable Cause. Traffic violations, no matter how minor, create probable cause to stop the driver of a vehicle.

         3. Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure: Motor Vehicles. In determining whether the government's intrusion into a motorist's Fourth Amendment interests was reasonable, the question is not whether the officer issued a citation for a traffic violation or whether the State ultimately proved that violation.

         4. Investigative Stops: Motor Vehicles: Police Officers and Sheriffs: Probable Cause. An officer's stop of a vehicle is objectively reasonable when the officer has probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.

         5. Probable Cause: Words and Phrases. Probable cause is a flexible, commonsense standard that depends on the totality of the circumstances.

         6. Probable Cause: Police Officers and Sheriffs. Probable cause is not defeated because an officer incorrectly believes that a crime has been or is being committed. But implicit in the probable cause standard is the requirement that a law enforcement officer's mistakes be reasonable.

         [24 Neb.App. 497] 7. Probable Cause: Appeal and Error. An appellate court determines whether probable cause existed under an objective standard of reasonableness, given the known facts and circumstances.

         Appeal from the District Court for Seward County: James C. Stecker, Judge. Affirmed.

          William J. O'Brien for appellant.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss for appellee.

          Moore, Chief Judge, and Pirtle, Judge, and McCormack, Retired Justice.

          Pirtle, Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Brian A. McCrickert appeals from his conviction for possession of marijuana, more than 1 pound, a Class IV felony. He asserts the evidence obtained during a traffic stop should have been suppressed because there was no probable ...


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