Kansas Criminal Cases 2/7/20: Arceo-Rojas Is a Must Read for Extension of Stop Cases



This case features a lengthy explanation of driving in the left lane under K.S.A. 8-1522 as well as the myriad of excuses cops have used nationally and in Kansas to extend a car stop.  

Officer had reasonable suspicion to extend a traffic stop based on the following: (1) odd & inconsistent travel plans, (2) the short term of the rental agreement, (3) the car was rented by a person not in it, (4) strong air freshener smell, (5) clothing strewn about the backseat rather than in a suitcase or duffel bag.

Arnold-Burger dissented citing (1) unlawful stop under K.S.A. 8-1522, (2) the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to extend the stop. 

1. Appellate courts use a bifurcated standard of review when considering a motion to suppress evidence. We review the factual underpinnings of the decision for substantial competent evidence, and we review the ultimate legal conclusion drawn from those facts de novo. Substantial competent evidence exists when a reasonable person could accept the evidence as being adequate to support a conclusion. While engaging in this review, we do not reweigh the evidence, assess witness credibility, or resolve evidentiary conflicts.

2. The burden is on the State to establish the lawfulness of a warrantless search and seizure.

3. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and § 15 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights both protect individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures. Constitutional issues may arise when a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle on a public roadway, and therefore restrains an individual's liberty, because the stop constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

4. A police officer may perform a traffic stop if he or she reasonably suspects that the driver committed a traffic infraction.

5. Reasonable suspicion exists when a law enforcement officer has a specific, objective, articulable basis for believing that the person being detained is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.

6. The existence of reasonable suspicion is a question of law.

7. If an officer executed a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion that the driver was committing a traffic infraction or crime, then the evidence discovered later during that stop may be suppressed under the exclusionary rule.

8. The courts are to construe statutes to avoid unreasonable or absurd results.

9. A traffic stop may become unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to issue a citation or a warning ticket.

10. The mission of a traffic stop includes checking the driver's license, determining whether the driver has outstanding warrants, reviewing the car's registration, and reviewing the car's proof of insurance. Dog sniffs are not part of a traffic stop's mission.

11. A police officer may extend a traffic stop if the police officer develops reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe another crime has occurred during the traffic stop.

12. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause. What is reasonable depends on the totality of circumstances in the view of a trained law enforcement officer. In determining whether reasonable suspicion exists, the court must judge the officer's actions in light of common sense and ordinary human experience.

13. The totality of the circumstances standard allows officers to draw on their own experience and specialized training to make inferences from and deductions about the cumulative information available to them. A reviewing court must give due weight to the factual inferences drawn by both the trial court and the law enforcement officers. The totality of the circumstances standard does not envision a reviewing court labeling or ranking each factor as to innocent or suspicious appearances. Instead, the court determines whether all the circumstances justify the detention. The relevant inquiry is not whether particular conduct is innocent or guilty but whether a sufficient degree of suspicion attaches to particular types of noncriminal acts. The totality of the circumstances standard precludes a divide-and-conquer analysis under which factors that are readily susceptible to an innocent explanation are entitled to no weight.

14. A police officer need not ignore evidence that another crime occurred when completing a traffic stop. A police officer may broaden his or her inquiry when the detainee's actions and the circumstances suggest a crime unrelated to the traffic stop has occurred.

15. Discrepancies in travel plans or histories have been used as objective reasonable suspicion factors, depending on the nature of the discrepancy. As with unusual travel plans, inconsistencies in information provided to the officer during the traffic stop may give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Discrepancies that arouse suspicion include an individual's internally inconsistent statements and the inconsistencies between a passenger and driver's statements regarding travel plans.

16. Because air freshener and other strong fragrances are known for masking drug odor, air freshener and other strong fragrances may contribute to a police officer's reasonable suspicion.


Defendant moved to withdraw his plea because he would not have entered it had he known he was subject to lifetime postrelease rather than the 36 months in his original sentence.

1. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects defendants in criminal cases by requiring that any plea be knowingly and voluntarily made. As part of this protection, a court considering a defendant's plea of guilty or nolo contendere must inform the defendant of the direct consequences of his or her plea. The record must affirmatively disclose that the defendant understands the potential consequences of the plea and nevertheless chooses to plead guilty or no contest.

2. Postrelease supervision is a direct consequence of a plea because it is definite, automatic, and immediately follows a period of imprisonment. 3. Under K.S.A. 22-3210, a court considering a defendant's plea must determine— and the record must affirmatively disclose—that the defendant enters his or her plea voluntarily and with an understanding of its consequences. K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22- 3210(a)(2) thus requires a court to inform the defendant of the consequences of the plea, including the specific sentencing guidelines level, and the maximum penalty provided by law which may be imposed upon acceptance of such plea.

4. The decision to deny a motion to withdraw a plea lies within the discretion of the district court. On appeal, a person challenging a district court's denial must establish that the court abused its discretion in reaching that decision.

5. When a defendant moves to withdraw a plea after sentencing, a court may only permit withdrawal to correct manifest injustice. Manifest injustice is something obviously unfair or shocking to the conscience.

6. In determining whether a defendant has established manifest injustice in a postsentence motion to withdraw a plea, courts consider a number of factors, including (1) whether the defendant was represented by competent counsel; (2) whether the defendant was misled, coerced, mistreated, or unfairly taken advantage of; and (3) whether the plea was fairly and understandingly made.

7. The failure to strictly comply with K.S.A. 22-3210 does not warrant withdrawal of a plea if, upon review of the entire record, it can be determined that the plea was knowingly and voluntarily made. A court should deny a motion to withdraw a plea, even when faced with an error in the potential sentence discussed at the plea hearing, when the record discloses the plea hearing substantially complied with the requirements of K.S.A. 22-3210.

8. Kansas law vests district courts with the task of evaluating the defendant's arguments and testimony—and weighing those arguments against the unique facts and circumstances of each case—to determine whether a plea was knowingly and understandingly made.

9. K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(a)(2) requires a court at a plea hearing to inform the defendant of the "maximum penalty provided by law which may be imposed," not the exact sentence that will be imposed at sentencing.

10. Under the unique facts of this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant failed to demonstrate he would not have entered his plea if he had been informed that he would be subject to lifetime postrelease supervision. Even though the court did not strictly comply with K.S.A. 22-3210 at the plea hearing, the record supports the district court's finding that the defendant's plea was knowingly and understandingly made.


No published cases today.