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State v. Knight

Court of Appeals of Kansas

May 18, 2018

State of Kansas, Appellant,
v.
Eric Wayne Knight, Appellee.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. As a general rule, appellate review of a district court's ruling on a motion to suppress must be based solely on the evidence presented at the suppression hearing.

         2. Warrantless searches by police are considered unreasonable unless a recognized exception permits them.

         3. The automobile exception to the warrant requirement authorizes the warrantless search of a lawfully stopped vehicle where there is probable cause to believe the vehicle contains contraband or evidence of a crime.

         4. Probable cause to search a vehicle exists when the totality of the circumstances indicates there is a fair probability that the vehicle contains contraband or evidence of a crime.

          5. The scope of a warrantless search of an automobile is defined by the object of the search and the places in which there is probable cause to believe that it may be found.

          Appeal from Barton District Court; Ron Svaty, judge.

          Douglas A. Matthews, assistant county attorney, Amy J. Mellor, county attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellant.

          Lisa A. Beran, of Law Office of Lisa A. Beran, of Great Bend, for appellee.

          Before Standridge, P.J., Hill and Buser, JJ.

          Standridge, J.

         This is an interlocutory appeal by the State from an order suppressing evidence. For the reasons stated below, we reverse the district court's order and remand for further proceedings.

         Facts

         While on road patrol in the early afternoon of October 4, 2016, Barton County Sheriff's Deputy Sierra Thorne observed a black Pontiac Firebird with a Colorado license plate bearing a 2016 registration sticker. Uncertain as to whether the car registration had expired, Thorne contacted her dispatcher and relayed the car's license plate number. After the dispatcher told her the plate registration had expired, Thorne activated the emergency lights on her patrol car and stopped the vehicle. Leaving her patrol car, Thorne approached Eric Wayne Knight, the driver of the vehicle, and requested he produce his driver's license and vehicle insurance ...


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