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Prior Arrests/Convictions Inadequate to Support Reasonable Suspicion

People v. Pantoja Docket: A162591 (First Appellate District), Opinion Date: April 13, 2022. Vacaville Officer Hill followed a car and noticed the license plate light and third brake light at the vehicle's back window appeared not to be working. Hill initiated a traffic stop. Pantoja was alone in the car. When Pantoja gave his name, Hill remembered Pantoja “had a history of violence and firearm possession, and he was at the time an investigative lead in a homicide.” There was no smell of marijuana and no contraband in plain view. Hill saw no signs that Pantoja was intoxicated. Hill ran a record check and learned Pantoja had a valid license and was not on probation or parole. Hill asked Pantoja if he could look in the vehicle for contraband. Pantoja declined. Hill then asked Pantoja to exit his car and put his hands behind his head because Hill was going to issue a citation for the lighting infractions. Pantoja did not make any furtive gestures or sudden movements. As Hill patted Pantoja’s waistband area, he found a revolver. Pantoja was arrested.

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