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REVERSED: Denial of Motion to Suppress Firearm Evidence

People v. Cuadra Docket: B310554 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: November 5, 2021. At 2:15 a.m. on June 3, 2020, Deputy Zeas and his partner drove their patrol car into a parking lot and stopped five-six feet from where Cuadra was standing. Because of Black Lives Matter protests, there was a curfew in effect. Zeas asked Cuadra if he was aware of the curfew. Cuadra said no. Zeas did not cite Cuadra for a curfew violation; the curfew did not apply to persons on private property. Zeas then asked Cuadra if he was on parole or probation. Cuadra said he was on probation. Zeas then decided to detain Cuadra, who raised his hands and started to step backward away from the patrol car, while asking why the officers were “attempting to detain” him when he had done nothing wrong. After Cuardra raised his hands in response to Zeas, Zeas saw a "pretty big" “bulge” in Cuadra’s front pants pocket, consistent with the shape of a firearm. Cuadra “spontaneously” stated he had a gun. Zeas performed a patdown search and recovered a loaded revolver from his front pants pocket. The court of appeal reversed the denial of Cuadra’s motion to suppress. The firearm evidence was the fruit of the unlawful detention. The observation of the gun occurred when Cuadra submitted to a show of authority and his detention was not founded on reasonable suspicion, consent, or probable cause to arrest.


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