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State v. Hanke

Supreme Court of Kansas

April 20, 2018

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
David S. Hanke, Appellant.

          Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed July 29, 2016.

         SYLLABUS

          1. When reviewing a motion to suppress evidence, an appellate court reviews the factual underpinnings of a district court's decision for substantial competent evidence and the ultimate legal conclusion drawn from those facts de novo. The ultimate determination of the suppression of evidence is a legal question requiring independent appellate review. The State bears the burden to demonstrate that a challenged search or seizure is lawful.

         2. Investigatory detentions are permitted under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution if an objective officer would have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the detainee committed, is about to commit, or is committing a crime.

         3. Determining what is reasonable is based on the totality of the circumstances and is viewed in terms as understood by those versed in the field of law enforcement.

          Appeal from Harvey district court; Joe Dickinson, judge.

          Ryan J. Eddinger, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Jason R. Lane, assistant county attorney, argued the cause, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, was with him on the brief for appellee.

          DECISION

          Nuss, C.J.

         This case requires us to decide whether a search of David Hanke's van disclosing drugs and a meth pipe was in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The district court and a majority of the Court of Appeals panel ruled it was not. We agree with the lower courts' results because the police officer had reasonable suspicion when he asked for and received Hanke's consent to search. Accordingly, their decisions are affirmed.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         According to testimony at the hearing on Hanke's motion to suppress the evidence, as Sergeant Jason Thompson of the Newton Police Department pulled his patrol car into the well-lit parking lot of a Kwik Shop convenience store around 2 a.m., he noticed a van with its engine running parked in a stall in front of the store. Thompson drove through the parking lot and stopped to talk to an acquaintance at a fuel pump. During that conversation, an individual approached and suggested Thompson check on the van's driver because he or she was slumped in the seat and the van had been parked there with its engine running for about an hour.

          Thompson pulled behind the van and checked the license plate, which showed registration by a Jaclyn Grattan. Thompson parked on the opposite side of the lot and approached the van on foot. According to Thompson, he did not pull behind the van because it was not a traffic stop and he did not want to prevent the driver from freely leaving after Thompson performed his check. At no point did he engage his emergency lights or siren.

         As Thompson drew closer, he could see someone slumped to the right in the driver's seat. Considering the uncomfortable positioning and odd posturing, Thompson was unable to immediately determine if the person was purposely sleeping, was having a medical problem, or was under the influence of ...


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