Florida Supreme Court Rules Police May Detain Passengers During Traffic Stops

By Aaron Kesel

Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that police may detain passengers any and all passengers during even minor traffic stops and that doing so does not violate constitutional rights to hold someone not suspected of any wrongdoing for a “reasonable” time, The Newspaper reported.

The high court made the ruling after evaluating a January 29, 2015 traffic stop in which a car with a broken tail light was pulled over in Gainesville for allegedly rolling through a stop sign. Gregory Presley was one of two passengers in the stopped vehicle questioned by Officer John Pandak about who he was and where they were going. The officer asked if any of the passengers had been drinking and Presley questioned why would that be a problem.

“I don’t know, man,” Officer Pandak replied. “This is a traffic stop, you’re part of it. So we’re hanging out. That’s all there is to it…. Well, we’re just talking, man. You can’t go anywhere at the moment because you’re part of this stop. That’s all.”

It turns out after running the records of Presley the police officer found out that he was 0n probation for alcohol. Presley was arrested and taken to jail. At trial, Presley argued that the stop violated his Fourth Amendment rights, protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and tried to suppress the evidence against him gained in what he called an “illegal detention.”

Florida’s appellate courts were split on the question, so the high court stepped in to resolve the issue. The justices agreed with prosecutors that an officer’s safety trumps a passenger’s rights.

“The intrusion upon personal liberty is de minimis because the method of transport has already been lawfully interrupted by virtue of the stop, the passenger has already been stopped by virtue of the driver’s lawful detention, and routine traffic stops are brief in duration,” Chief Justice Jorge Labarga wrote for the court.

The court added that a passenger of a vehicle cannot be detained any longer than the amount of time it takes to check the driver’s license and write a ticket unless there is a reason to suspect the passenger is involved in any wrongdoing.

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“Detention is permissible for this limited period of time because it allows law enforcement officers to safely do their job accomplishing the ‘mission’ of the stop and not be at risk due to potential violence from passengers or other vehicles on the roadway,” Justice Larbarga said.

Another Justice, Barbara J. Pariente, agreed with the other judges on the landmark decision, but she noted that this was a case in which a black man was interrogated in his neighborhood in the morning against his will.

“When the traffic stop does not give rise to a need to question passengers or ask for their identification, I fail to comprehend why the interrogation of passengers on matters unrelated to the traffic stop, so long as those inquiries do not measurably extend the duration of the stop, does not intrude on the constitutional guarantee to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” she wrote.

The Justices declined to address whether or not the new law would affect transportation businesses such as buses and taxis, if a driver was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. In its current state, this ruling theoretically would allow a police officer to detain an entire bus load of people against their will.

“In reaching this holding, we expressly decline to address whether law enforcement may detain passengers during a traffic stop of a common carrier or a vehicle that, at the time of the stop, is being utilized as part of a transportation-based business,” Justice Labarga noted.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit.

This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution. Like Activist Post on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter and at Steemit.

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49 Comments on "Florida Supreme Court Rules Police May Detain Passengers During Traffic Stops"

  1. These judges need to be voted out or disbarred.

  2. You better accept getting raped, your consent is worthless in a country that protects freedom for the rich.

    Get pulled over? Bend over and say thank you for not taking my freedom any longer in a cage.

    • Come on, you are peddling violence. Always, and I have yet to see it different, the police are the most patient, the most polite of all people. Of course, if one messes with them, enough to make one of them mad, and since they, the police, live lives excluded from most of what we do, meaning, the police are kept away from us for reasons of our own. If you mess with the police, men who work out daily, men who are in the best of shape, and, men who do have tempers and, guns. Well, then, why come crying to us who do respect the people doing the job and who do not look into every aspect of it like there must be fault some where. In other words, except in a very few instances, in my life time, have I ever found the police to be wrong, and believe me, I have been arrested so many times, drunk, beaten to a pulp more than a couple of times, by the arresting officers, and sent to jail and, even, prison, for being a drunk while driving. I am not proud of this, however I do qualify what I write by my experiences; all told, I have spent four years of my life locked up, because, I disrespected the law that insist people cannot drive while drunk or even drinking, booze. If I had to I could show the hospital billing(s) for patching me up after I, drunk, gave the police a hard time. Try being courteous, and honest, we know the truth why try to fool us.

      • You don’t value your freedom, which is why you admitted being locked away many times in your life. I am not peddling violence, I am telling those who value freedom to submit to lawful government force and be raped temporarily instead of losing their freedom for their life in cage.

        • You, don’t have to use such words to describe the experience, when you do you are starting a fight, you must know that.

          • Don’t be incited to violence by the truth, when you can no longer consent it is the same as being raped. Just accept it and hope for better days to come.

  3. Westcoastdeplorable | September 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Reply

    There go our Constitutional rights, drip, drip, drip.

    • If you took the time to study you’d know “our constitutional rights” were taken long ago, 1871, in fact, taken by a Leadership that would sell their mother’s and children into slavery for a few dollars more; take lifeless John McCain for an example. We were allowed to live thinking we were still governed using the Constitution and Bill of Rights 1776, as a guide, but only because the filthy rich and their Political and Judicial, lackeys, knew, it is always easier to screw people over when they think they are being shown the politeness of the law. Quit telling people to resist the change, at least quit telling them to resist the change until you yourself has found a way to resist without needless suffering and economic expense. On the ‘boards’ so many are all to glad to put some other dummy’s head in the noose, but quite weary of doing it themselves.

  4. Another unsurprising, yet still incredulous, ruling to make the police state stronger and stronger.

    • Exactly, and the only way this will stop is when the common citizens unite and act appropriately.
      The corrupt mafia has infiltrated every aspect of our societies perceived authority, and are acting in THEIR own interests.
      We may as well have an occupying army taking us over.

      The system no longer works for the benefit of the common man, but we foolishly keep thinking we can use those venues to instill justice.

  5. By their own actions, it appears those “in the club” (corrupt system) not only allow chaos and mayhem but are inciting it with the plan of justifying a police state.
    Look how they turn the other way when protests by antifa turn violent instead of acting to prevent it.
    This is just one example of many that depict the nefarious methods used to advance a totalitarian agenda.

  6. Its floriduh tho so its kinda expected

  7. A passenger is a person who is paying for you to take them from Point A to Point B. A GUEST on the other hand is is a friend or family member who is TRAVELING with you. And if you are not operating a motor vehicle, transporting people or freight for hire, then you are not DRIVING!! USC title 18, sec. 31

    • Not only that, but if one is detained it is known as “administrative arrest” and one retains all constitutional rights including the right to remain silent. One need not speak, nor even provide any documentation if one is detained.

      • “nor even provide any documentation if one is detained”

        Why do you teach people this nonsense? You are just going to get a lot of people in trouble. It is always best to do as asked by the Police, be courteous and help as much as possible. What so many people; I see them all the time on the Internet, refusing to open their window so the window gets removed for them. What so many people can not understand is being a police officer is a very risky business, especially when you have the national medias and Hollywood doing all they can to make the police look like our worst enemies. To start a race war. So, it is not the police who are changing but the national perception of the police that has changed. Until today, instead of people doing their job and people being reined in for breaking agreed upon laws, we have a war like confrontation going on all across the country; bound to be some trouble. Just do what the police officer asks, nine out of ten times and even if there is a minor violation involved it will be overlooked and the person can go on their way. Like always, being quiet when need be and speaking when need be, being courteous and considerate, gets the job done. Put yourself in the police officer’s shoes, see how that feels, first.

        • No D.C. should ever stop someone without:
          1. Suspicion of injury to person or a person’s property.
          2. Reason to believe that the person being stopped could help in the investigation.
          A busted tail light doesn’t cut it.
          Neither does speeding.
          Neither does suspected drunken driving.
          Neither does driving without state issued “permission”.
          The D.C. should obey the U.S. Constitution including the 4th amendment.
          Obeying the 1st, 5th, and 13th would be nice also.
          .
          If the D.C. weren’t corrupt, then it might be reasonable for them to stop someone to help.
          Offer for free installation of burnt out tail light bulbs would be good.
          Offer to drive a drunken person home with their car or offer a free hotel room.
          D.C. switching to be the good guys would save taxpayers much money.

        • Put yourself in a police officers shoes?

          Hmmm. So I’m supposed to feel some empathy for a psycho with a badge, gun, a contact/arrest quota and immunity for most of their crimes?

          Do you know what you can do with your empathy?

          • This reply should cover all the resistance: Ken O’Keefe, a good man, a patriot, a fellow just trying to make a living, told a million or so people here in the United States Company 1871, formerly the United States of America 1776, Ken, told people you don’t need a Drivers License to drive a car on the road, all you have to do is tell the Police you are just Traveling, that’s all. Well, how has that worked out? I can hear the Sheriff running the Jail, don’t stop anymore of them, the Jail is full. More than a few so sure of their “Rights” probably woke up in a hospital, heck, it took thirty stitches to close that cut over his eye. The result of that stick in the Police persons hand making contact with the human skull.
            Of course, I have been around long enough to know people like the ones here telling people to tell the Police to get a job, are the kind of people that when stopped by the Police bend over backwards to please the Officer, talking about their church participation and who they know on the city council.
            My message is for the little folk, the folk who follow directions and heed what is said to them. To them I say: it doesn’t matter, as we now know for sure, what the Constitution or Bill of Rights or even the Local Laws, State Laws, Federal Laws, the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, it doesn’t matter, when the person in trouble appears before THE JUDGE, well, even the President has discovered them’there Judges are mighty powerful people. They, the Judges do what they want to do, usually, they will back the Police because, let’s face it, the Police work for the Judges and the Judges work with the Police, a sort of scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours hookup.
            What I am saying, what I am pleading is this: please save yourself a lot of trouble, we have lost contact with our Police, we are not neighbors so much anymore as we are enemies, thanks, Main Stream Media, Hollywood, your Leadership and the Churches. There is a game going on today, the game goes like this, before we can, we, being the filthy rich and their Banker King, before we can take the Social Security, the Pensions, the Health Care and the Welfare away, we must have the people and the Police hating each other lest the Police protect the interest of the People and not our interest. Don’t worry about the Judges, we own them.
            There it is, now you know, please, listen for once in your life. Just do what the Officer tells you to do, without words or actions, just follow orders, understand it is going to be a generation or two before we get this mess me are in straightened out.

          • you’re wrong. The first to fall should be the damned whorring preachers who suck off the cops every Sunday, either directly or indirectly by not taking a stand against their destruction of more than 100 million Americans’ lives in their filthy lying illegal criminal justice system. More to say later.

        • This “nonsense” has already been adjudicated by the Supreme Court.

          Twas the Supreme Court that says no cooperation is required.

  8. People used to say, “It’s a free country”. You don’t hear that much anymore.

  9. Citizen’s safety is greater than ‘officer safety’.
    Hey they signed up for this. If they are a bunch of pussies, then they should be in another line of work.

  10. The Judicial system is curupt. Black robes symbolize Saturn.

  11. The US SUPREME COURT IN Terry v Ohio a person stopped in an investigation stop can be questioned but is “NOT OBLIGATED TO ANSWER” “ANSWERS MAY NOT BE COMPELLED AND REFUSAL TO ANSWER FURNISHES NO BASIS FOR ARREST! and correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly certain that US supreme court ruling cancels all other rulings! FURTHER
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” — Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.

  12. everything about most traffic stops is either illegal. If you stand upon actual law, you will do so in a steel cage.

  13. Impeach the Florida supreme court that is violating the 4th.

  14. A blatant judicial police state judgement!

  15. “The justices agreed with prosecutors that an officer’s safety trumps a passenger’s rights.”

    I would like these corporate executive administrators masquerading as judges cite the constitutional authority that gives a corporate employee these rights. They simply do not exist outside the corporation they call the state.

    They are simply and unlawfully depriving people of their Unalienable Rights because they have a corporate issued gun, shiny badge and a costume provided by a Dun & Bradstreet corporation offering gov services for profit.

  16. new at Amazon today…..”Constitution” toilet paper rolls. Wipe your bum with America’s Founding Documents. Also “Treaty Of Paris 1783” suppositories, packaging includes transcript of the event, proclaiming George III’s Vatican connection and claimant to so much that Americans thought they had won in the Revolutionary War. Now you can understand our Admiralty Courts and your all-caps name as a slave. Your masters keep announcing new interpretations of the Slave laws.

  17. officer safety,is more important than our rights as Americans! thats not right!

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  18. I think this ruling would put police at more risk. If a bad actor is in a car and it’s pulled over he now knows he will be questioned. His identification will be demanded. How does this protect officers? I think this is another ruling disguised as protecting officers to expand the police state.

  19. Sam Nelson, if you are not a paid troll, you are a total idiot.

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