The Second Department in People v O'Hare, 73 AD3d 813 reviewed the
basis for stopping and automobile and probable cause for arrest.
In O'Hare a police officer stopped the defendant's vehicle upon
seeing an air freshened hanging from the rearview mirror. A forensic safety
engineer testified for the defense at the suppression hearing that the
air freshened was a dashboard level held by a string one tenth of one
inch wide and was not an obstruction of the defendants view as prohibited
by the New York State Traffic Law.
Because the court incorrectly assessed the evidence in finding the prosecution
had shown reasonable suspicion that the defendant had committed a traffic
violation new findings of fact may be mace on appeal. The stop of the
defendants vehicle was unlawful.
There was no other basis for the stop and the resulting observation of
an apparent seat belt law violation the license check erroneously indicated
that e defendant's license was suspended and the eventual vehicle
search that revealed weapons.
Due to the unlawful stop the Judgment was reversed and suppression was granted.