Police on routine patrol observed T.G. as a passenger in a car that was being driven “without adequate lighting on the license plate” making it hard for the officers to read the plate. As a result, the officers initiated a traffic stop. The car pulled into a parking lot and before the officers could get out of their car, T.G. allegedly fled on foot. One of the officers pursued T.G. and claimed that T.G. discarded a firearm before he was ultimately stopped. A gun was recovered by police.
The defense drew from his experiences of practicing law to file a motion to suppress evidence and alleged that the police lacked probable cause to initiate a traffic stop or to chase T.G., and that the gun was “forcibly abandoned” by T.G. as a result of the unconstitutional actions of the officers.
At the suppression hearing, the defense produced traffic code regulations that clearly state that a vehicle is only required to have a working license plate lamp if one was originally installed by the manufacturer. If such a lamp was originally installed and not working, only then would a motor vehicle code violation occur. The defense produced photographs of the vehicle in question to demonstrate that there was no lamp installed, rather than a malfunctioning lamp. Furthermore, the defense successfully argued that the police had no right to give chase to T.G., and that it was the unlawful actions of the police that resulted in the recovery of the gun. The defense motion to suppress was granted and the case dismissed.