BY THE COURT
routine traffic stop is a warrantless seizure under the
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and is
therefore unreasonable unless the officer who initiates the
stop has a reasonable and articulable suspicion, based on
facts, that the person stopped has committed, is committing,
or is about to commit a crime.
Courts evaluate the existence of a reasonable suspicion under
a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis that requires a
State bears the burden to justify a warrantless seizure, and
it must do so with actual evidence. In determining whether
the State has met its burden, a court cannot draw inferences
in favor of the State from a lack of evidence in the record.
Doing so impermissibly relieves the State of its burden.
officer cannot begin a traffic stop to investigate whether
the driver of a vehicle has a valid license based solely on
the fact the vehicle's registered owner has a suspended
or revoked driver's license. The officer must be able to
point to specific and articulable facts from which the
officer can rationally infer that the driver of the
vehicle-not just the registered owner-has a suspended
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 54 Kan.App.2d 377,
400 P.3d 182 (2017).
from Douglas District Court; Paula B. Martin, judge.
Bauch, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and
John Grobmyer, legal intern, Charles E. Branson, district
attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him
on the brief for appellant.
Elbridge Griffy IV, of Lawrence, argued the cause and was on
the brief for appellee.
United States Supreme Court has determined that the Fourth
Amendment to the United States Constitution allows a law
enforcement officer to initiate a traffic stop only when the
officer has an articulable and reasonable suspicion, based on
fact, that the person stopped has committed, is committing,
or is about to commit a crime. Here, the officer stopped a
vehicle simply because he assumed the driver was the
registered owner, whose driver's license had been
revoked. The officer had no information to support the
assumption that the owner was the driver.
driver moved to suppress evidence obtained during the stop,
arguing the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of
illegal activity when he stopped the car. The district court
agreed, finding unreasonable the officer's assumption
that the car's driver was the registered owner. The State
appealed that ruling, and the Court of Appeals reversed.
State v. Glover, 54 Kan.App.2d 377, 400 P.3d 182
(2017). On review of that decision, we reverse the Court of
Appeals and affirm the district court. We hold the officer
lacked an articulable and reasonable suspicion that the
unidentified driver did not have a valid driver's
license; the officer's assumption was only a hunch and
was unsupported by a particularized and objective belief.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
on routine patrol, Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Mark
Mehrer observed a 1995 Chevrolet pickup truck and ran the
truck's license plate number through the Kansas
Department of Revenue's database. Deputy Mehrer learned
Charles Glover, Jr., had registered the vehicle and
Glover's Kansas driver's license had been revoked.
Deputy Mehrer did not observe any traffic violations but
initiated a traffic stop based on his assumption that Glover
was driving the vehicle. He did not try to confirm the
identity of the driver before initiating the traffic stop.
State charged Glover with driving as a habitual violator. He
filed a motion to suppress evidence, arguing the officer
lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop. The
parties entered into the following stipulation of facts on
which the district court decided the motion:
"1. Deputy Mark Mehrer is a certified law enforcement
officer employed by the Douglas County[, ] Kansas
"2. On April 28, 2016, Deputy Mehrer was on routine
patrol in Douglas County when he observed a 1995 Chevrolet
1500 pickup truck with Kansas plate 295ATJ.
"3. Deputy Mehrer ran Kansas plate 295ATJ through the
Kansas Department of Revenue's file service. The
registration came back to a 1995 Chevrolet 1500 ...