Monday, October 26, 2009

A police citizen encounter based upon apparent ethnicity

In United States v. Quintana, the Court (Carnes, Fay, 9th Cir Judge Alarcon) affirmed the denial of motions to dismiss and suppress based upon the defendant's contention that police initiated a consensual encounter with him solely because they believed he was of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent. (He was Mexican.) The Court discussed United States v. Avery, 137 F.3d 343 (6th Cir. 1997), which concluded that a Fourteenth Amendment violation may occur if a person is stopped solely because of his race or ethnicity. Nonetheless, the Eleventh Circuit determined that it did not need to decide the question presented in Avery since the record showed that Quintana's apparent ethnicity was not the sole reason the officers initiated the consensual encounter.

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