United States District Court, D. Nebraska
R. Zwart United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court on Defendant's motion to
suppress evidence and request for an evidentiary hearing.
(Filing No. 20). For the reasons explained below,
Defendant's motion should be denied in its entirety.
April 14, 2017, Defendant was a passenger in a vehicle
traveling in Lincoln, Nebraska. At approximately 1:17 a.m.,
Lincoln Police Officer Joseph Villamonte was observing
traffic at the intersection of 48th and Madison
Streets in Lincoln Nebraska when he saw a gold Oldsmobile
Alero traveling south on 48thStreet approaching
Madison Street. The officer could not see a license plate on
intersection, the vehicle turned onto Madison Street. Officer
Villamonte noticed the driver of the Oldsmobile did not
signal this turn 100 feet prior to turning. After the officer
made a U-turn in the intersection to follow the Oldsmobile,
the Oldsmobile quickly turned into a parking lot, again
failing to signal 100 feet in advance of the turn. The
officer initiated a traffic stop. The Oldsmobile stopped in
the parking lot.
Officer Villamonte was exiting his patrol vehicle, Defendant,
who was a front seat passenger in the stopped vehicle, got
out of that vehicle and begin running. The officer saw
Defendant dropping items as he ran. One of those items
appeared to be a car charger; the other was a dark object
which sounded like metal when it hit the parking lot's
backseat passenger in the stopped vehicle also fled from the
scene. Officer Villamonte placed the driver in the rear seat
of the officer's patrol vehicle and called for backup
assistance. When other officers arrived, Officer Villamonte
walked the direction Defendant had fled and found a loaded
magazine of ammunition laying on the concrete.
argues “that no reasonable suspicion or probable cause
existed for Officer Villamonte to stop the vehicle in which
he was a passenger, ” “the stop violated his
rights under the Fourth Amendment, ” and therefore any
evidence seized should be suppressed. (Filing No. 20 at
CM/ECF pp. 1-2).
traffic stop is legal if it is supported by probable cause to
believe that a law violation has occurred. Whren v.
United States, 517 U.S. 806, 810 (1996). “An
officer has probable cause to conduct a traffic stop when he
observes even a minor traffic violation. This is true even if
a valid traffic stop is a pretext for other
investigation.” United States v. Sallis, 507
F.3d 646, 649 (8th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations omitted).
A traffic stop “is valid even if the police would have
ignored the traffic violation but for their suspicion that
greater crimes are afoot.” United States v.
Long, 532 F.3d 791, 795 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting
United States v. Chatman, 119 F.3d 1335, 1339-40
(8th Cir. 1997)). An officer's subjective motivations for
a stop are not relevant if a traffic violation has occurred.
Long, 532 F.3d at 795.
Nebraska statutory law and the Lincoln Municipal Code,
“[a] signal of intention to turn or move right or left
. . . . shall be given continuously during not less than the
last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before
turning.” Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 60-6, 161;
Lincoln Municipal Code §10.14.170. Failure to comply
with this law provides probable cause to stop a vehicle.
United States v. Adler, 590 F.3d 581, 584 (8th Cir.
2009) (applying Nebraska law and holding the officer had
probable cause to stop Defendant's vehicle for failing to
signal a turn 100 feet in advance of turning).
Villamonte's observation of the Oldsmobile turning
corners without signaling 100 feet before those turns
provided probable cause for the stop.
THEREFORE HEREBY IS RECOMMENDED to the Honorable John M.
Gerrard, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b), that the motion to suppress filed by the
defendant (Filing No. 20) be denied in its entirety.
defendant is notified that failing to file an objection to
this recommendation as provided in the local rules of this
court may be held to be a waiver of any right to ...