State v. Flint, 083019 KSCA, 119, 847

Docket Nº:119, 847
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:State of Kansas, Appellee, v. Lance Flint, Appellant.
Attorney:Paul D. Cramm, of Paul D. Cramm, Chartered, of Overland Park, for appellant. Tony Cruz, assistant county attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellee.
Judge Panel:Before Hill, P.J., Standridge, J., and Neil B. Foth, District Judge, assigned.
Case Date:August 30, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Kansas
 
FREE EXCERPT

State of Kansas, Appellee,

v.

Lance Flint, Appellant.

No. 119, 847

Court of Appeals of Kansas

August 30, 2019

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

Appeal from Geary District Court; Steven L. Hornbaker, judge.

Paul D. Cramm, of Paul D. Cramm, Chartered, of Overland Park, for appellant.

Tony Cruz, assistant county attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellee.

Before Hill, P.J., Standridge, J., and Neil B. Foth, District Judge, assigned.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PER CURIAM.

Lance Flint appeals his convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and not having a drug tax stamp. Flint challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized during a search of his vehicle on Interstate 70 in Geary County. The search was incident to a traffic stop for allegedly failing to legally signal a lane change. The officer took Flint into his patrol car, asked about his destination and activities, submitted Flint's information to dispatch, called for backup, and then initiated a dog sniff on Flint's vehicle. The dog alerted to a possible drug odor, and the subsequent search discovered approximately 40 pounds of marijuana.

In denying Flint's motion to suppress, the district court found first that the traffic stop was proper, based on (1) the officer's reasonable belief that he had observed an illegal lane change and (2) that the questioning and the dog sniff did not impermissibly extend the scope and duration of the traffic stop.

This case turns on whether the law enforcement officer had an objectively reasonable suspicion that Flint violated K.S.A. 8-1548. The statute reads: "(a) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety, nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.

"(b) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the vehicle before turning." (Emphasis added.) K.S.A. 8-1548.

This court reverses the district court's denial of the motion to suppress. We conclude that the officer did not have an objectively reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation had occurred. As such, our recitation of facts, and our analysis, will be limited to those circumstances. We need not reach the issue of whether the officer impermissibly extended the scope and duration of the traffic stop.

Factual and Procedural Background

On October 25, 2016, Flint was driving a rental car near mile marker 314, along eastbound I-70 in Geary County, Kansas. As he approached an on-ramp from right, a semitruck was merging into his lane. Flint activated his left turn signal, moved to the left lane, and passed the merging truck.

Officer Nicholas Blake, a Junction City police officer, was driving his patrol car behind Flint's car, along with his drug dog, Barney, and witnessed the traffic maneuver. Officer Blake testified that he saw the car begin to cross into the left lane before the driver activated his turn signal. He immediately activated the dashcam recording equipment in his patrol car (preserving the previous minutes) and described what he saw as an "improper signal." Officer Blake also moved his patrol car into the left lane, passed the merging truck, and drove behind Flint's car for almost two more minutes before initiating the traffic stop.

At the pretrial suppression hearing, Officer Blake testified as follows regarding why he stopped Flint...

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