United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. TEETER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ian Dominique Hudson, who is charged with possession of a
firearm by a prohibited person, moves to suppress a firearm
recovered from his vehicle, arguing that it is the fruit of
an illegal seizure. Docs. 16, 29. The government contends law
enforcement never seized Mr. Hudson within the meaning of the
Fourth Amendment because he never submitted to law
enforcement's show of authority during an attempted
traffic stop and, instead, fled from the vehicle leaving the
firearm on the seat. Because the Court agrees that Mr. Hudson
was not seized when he abandoned the vehicle and firearm, the
Court denies the motion.
December 2017, the United States Marshals Service was
surveilling Mr. Hudson in an effort to find a fugitive,
Charles L. Steele, who was known to associate with Mr.
Hudson. On December 5, 2017, Deputy United States Marshals
(“DUSMs”) Blake Lemer and Quentin Terrel observed
Mr. Hudson and a man who shared some of Mr. Steele's
physical characteristics get into a Camaro Mr. Hudson was
driving. The deputies, driving separate unmarked cars,
followed the Camaro through town and into Mr. Hudson's
neighborhood. Eventually, after some erratic driving, Mr.
Hudson drove into a cul-de-sac and up into a driveway.
Terrel, while separate from DUSM Lemer, stopped behind Mr.
Hudson, activated his vehicle's red-and-blue flashing
lights, and exited his vehicle with his weapon drawn. He
identified himself as “Police” and ordered Mr.
Hudson to “Stop” and to “Get out of the
car.” Mr. Hudson looked at him and began backing up the
Camaro toward DUSM Terrel's vehicle, getting within ten
feet of it before putting the Camaro in drive again. While
the Camaro rolled forward, Mr. Hudson began to exit the
Camaro, leaned back down in the vehicle, then exited the
Camaro, and briefly walked toward DUSM Terrel. DUSM Terrel
started to approach Mr. Hudson and repeatedly ordered him to
“Get on the ground.” But Mr. Hudson did not
comply with these commands. When Mr. Hudson was about five
feet away, DUSM Terrel reached for him but, before DUSM
Terrel could touch him, Mr. Hudson turned and ran away on
foot. DUSM Terrel did not follow him.
Terrel then approached the Camaro and had the passenger put
it in park. DUSM Lemer had arrived by this point. He and DUSM
Terrel then removed the passenger from the car and spotted a
firearm on the driver's seat. The deputies determined
that the passenger was not Mr. Steele but was instead Jameson
Hudson argues that the firearm must be suppressed as the
fruit of an unlawful seizure because the deputies lacked
reasonable suspicion to seize him. The government contends
that law enforcement never seized Mr. Hudson within the
meaning of the Fourth Amendment because, rather than
submitting to law enforcement's show of authority, Mr.
Hudson fled from the vehicle, leaving the firearm on the
seat. For the following reasons, the Court agrees with the
Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable
searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV. A person is
“seized” within the meaning of the Fourth
Amendment “only when, by means of physical force or a
show of authority, his freedom of movement is
restrained.” United States v. Mendenhall, 446
U.S. 544, 553 (1980). Absent the use of physical force, a
seizure requires both a “show of authority” from
law enforcement and “submission to [that] assertion of
authority” by the person at whom it is directed.
California v. Hodari D., 449 U.S. 621, 626 (1991).
Because DUSM Terrel never applied physical force to Mr.
Hudson, the Court must determine (1) whether DUSM Terrel made
a show of authority directed at Mr. Hudson and, if so, (2)
whether Mr. Hudson submitted to it.
DUSM Terrel Made a Show of Authority
determine whether law enforcement has displayed a show of
authority sufficient to implicate the Fourth Amendment,
courts apply the objective test set forth in
Mendenhall. Under this test, law enforcement has
done so “only if, in view of all the circumstances
surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have
believed that he was not free to leave.”
Mendenhall, 446 U.S. at 554. In making this
determination, courts consider several factors including the
activation of a siren or flashing lights, commanding a person
to halt, displaying a weapon, and operating a vehicle in an
aggressive manner to block a person's course. See,
e.g., Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567,
575-76 (1998) (listing examples).
Court finds that DUSM Terrel made a show of authority
directed at Mr. Hudson. DUSM Terrel pulled up behind the
Camaro, activated his red-and-blue flashing lights, and
exited his vehicle with his weapon drawn while shouting,
“Stop. Police. Get out of the car.” DUSM Terrel then
repeatedly ordered Mr. Hudson to “Get on the
ground.” These actions constitute a show of authority
directed at Mr. Hudson, and, in view of all of the
circumstances, a reasonable person would have understood DUSM
Terrel's actions as such. See, e.g., United
States v. Salazar, 609 F.3d 1059, 1066 (10th Cir. 2010)
(noting that the parties agree that activation of a patrol
car's flashing lights constituted a show of authority);
Brower v. Cnty of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 598 (1989)
(stating that “a police car pursuing with flashing
lights” is “a significant show of
Mr. Hudson Did Not Submit to DUSM Terrel's Show of
DUSM Terrel made a show of authority directed at Mr. Hudson,
the next issue is whether Mr. Hudson submitted to it.
Although there is no bright-line test for when a person has
submitted to a show of authority, case law suggests that
“submission” requires the person to yield to or
manifest compliance with law enforcement directives. See
Hodari D., 449 U.S. at 626, 629 (holding that a seizure
is not effected through a show of authority until the subject
yields). In making this determination, courts must examine
the totality of the circumstances because “what may
amount to submission depends on what a person was doing
before the show of authority: a fleeing man is not ...