of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished
opinion filed July 29, 2016.
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.
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.
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.
from Harvey district court; Joe Dickinson, judge.
J. Eddinger, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the
cause and was on the brief for appellant.
R. Lane, assistant county attorney, argued the cause, and
Derek Schmidt, attorney general, was with him on the brief
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.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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