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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
June 3, 2013

2013 CO 32. No. 13SA49. People v. Mason.
Interlocutory Appeal—Reasonable Articulable Suspicion—Suppression of Evidence.

The People filed an interlocutory appeal pursuant to CRS § 16-12-102(2) and CAR 4.1, challenging the trial court’s suppression of drugs discovered in defendant’s pickup truck. Grounds for the search came from the alert of a narcotics detection canine led around the vehicle. Although the district court upheld the initial traffic stop, it found that defendant was illegally detained at the time of the dog sniff, because the purpose for the initial stop of his vehicle had already been accomplished and no other reasonable suspicion existed to support further investigation. The court therefore suppressed the results of the subsequent search as the product of an illegal detention.

The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the prosecution failed to present any evidence supporting police suspicions that defendant had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime other than traffic offenses, they lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to detain him for further questioning or investigation after issuing him a summons and completing the traffic stop. The contraband seized from defendant’s vehicle therefore was properly suppressed as the product of an illegal detention.

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