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Appeals Court Rules Police Can Lie to Suspects

April 01, 2016  | 

A police officer may lie to a suspect regarding the reason for a traffic stop, even when no traffic violation was committed, if it's part of an unrelated criminal investigation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued Thursday, reports the Yakima Herald-Republic.

The case, which originated in federal court in Montana, involved two men accused of transporting methamphetamine from the Yakima Valley in Washington to Minnesota.

Hector Magallon-Lopez argued that his right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure was violated when an officer told him he’d been stopped for changing lanes without signaling. He asked that evidence be suppressed because of the supposed violation.

A federal district judge in Montana had rejected his argument, prompting the appeal.

The appeals court ruled that the misleading statements were allowable as long as an officer has sufficient evidence to support the underlying investigation.

In this case, a Drug Enforcement Administration task force had developed information through wire-tapped conversations about a drug conspiracy.

Investigators ultimately detained Magallon-Lopez and his co-defendant and discovered two pounds of methamphetamine in the car. Both are expected to be deported upon completion of their 10- and 12-year prison sentences.

Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 4/1/2016 3:16 PM

Good decision by the court. However, I am concerned that other courts in the future might not be able to comprehend what this ruling means and let too many suspects off. I'm glad these guys went to prison and will be deported.

Marcus @ 4/2/2016 8:56 PM

Why not they already lie straight face in court almost every time against documented video evidence and the judges have no problem with that.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 4/2/2016 9:18 PM

Marcus, one simple question. Why do you bother to post on this site??

OK then @ 4/3/2016 6:51 AM

He does it because he feels self righteous and people here respond to him.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 4/3/2016 9:07 AM

Yep, you got it. He's an arrogant cop hater.

Leonard @ 4/3/2016 1:54 PM

It's interesting that our courts allow and justify this behavior. Cops lie to to justify police stops, lie to judges to get warrants, lie on the stand. It's it a wonder why the public no longer trusts the institution of policing?

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 4/3/2016 10:29 PM

Leonard, I could agree with you on this, but then we'd both be wrong. Go check EBay for a life. You need one badly. Go ahead, I challenge you, SHOCK ME AND SAY SOMETHING INTELLIGENT.

RG @ 4/4/2016 6:47 AM

Leonard, This ruling is a shock to me, because for once the courts have ruled right. My issue is that the Officers had PC to stop the vehicle due to their information on the trafficking. A simple stop on the car should be justified due to these reasons, an officer should not have to lie about why they stopped them. Some cops do lie to Judges , some lie to obtain warrants. That is what Giglio is all about. We are trying to weed theses Officers out of our ranks. I know you will not be objective about this, but for the zillionth time, their are hundreds of thousands of officers and the majority are honest hard working Americans doing their jobs. It is easy to single out a few cases a week where an officer acted inappropriately. There are probably a million cases a week. Any profession, Doctor, Lawyer, Preacher, Teacher has some bad apples. Please use the term, Some, before your accusations and show us your comments may be worth reading.

Leonard @ 4/5/2016 3:55 PM

I agree that the cops had PC to stop this suspect. But this is my problem, as a citizen exercising my rights either to remain silent, refuse to show ID, is this a valid Terry Stop if the police are allowed to hide the reason for the stop. Am I now to assume if a get stopped , for any reason, that the officer is lying to me. Based upon this ruling I have to make that default assumption. Do you see the problem and how that erodes public trust.

kevin @ 2/26/2017 6:30 PM

cops lie all the time , the da,s try to fit a grind a square peg into a round hole , the only way to some great public participation is sting him coming out of a strip joint when the cops drunk its your duty to give him a taste of what he dishes out theres one more the lying women can fix them good , that little slot machine we all love costs moola,

kevin @ 2/26/2017 6:53 PM

providence rhode island the residents call the police the third shift terror squad, if your black or latino , these predominantely itailian cops, are there not to protect and serve their motto is to harass and incite, my friend rode his bike through different neighborhoods to deliver the bike to his sister living at the grand mothers house and gave her lunch money for school he left the bike so his sister could get to school in the morning , as he kissed he grandma an sister goodbye he walked back to his apartment going through different neiborhoods he was stopped bye police , asked him what he was doing in this neighborhood, they arrested him on bogus charges , if you ask me he was unlawfully arrested, they dismissed the charges on that Monday he had to be victimized again paying court costs, now I question the motives of cops

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