U.S. v. Gorman

The 9th Circuit panel affirmed the district court's order in a civil forfeiture action granting claimant's motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a traffic stop; affirmed the award of attorneys' fees; and held that the search of claimant's vehicle following coordinated traffic stops violated the Constitution.

The panel held that the first stop of claimant's vehicle was unreasonably prolonged in violation of the Fourth Amendment; the dog sniff and search of claimant's vehicle during the coordinated second vehicle stop followed directly in an unbroken causal chain of events from that constitutional violation; and consequently, the seized currency from the second stop was the “fruit of the poisonous tree” and was properly suppressed under the exclusionary rule.

The panel also held that none of the exceptions to the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine – the “independent source” exception, the “inevitable discovery” exception, and the “attenuated basis” exception – applied to claimant's case.

Read the entire opinion here.

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