Commonwealth v. Malloy

In Commonwealth v. Malloy, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the order of the Court of Common Pleas which denied suppression of a firearm and statements made by the defendant. A police officer stopped a car, in which the defendant was a passenger, for failing to display its license plate properly. While running license and registration checks for the driver, the officer asked the defendant for identification. Because the defendant had his ID on a lanyard around his neck, the officer assumed that he worked security and might have a gun. So, the officer asked the defendant if he had a gun, and the defendant admitted that he did. The Superior Court held that the officer had probable cause to stop the car for the traffic violation but had no authority to engage the defendant-passenger in further inquiry. The questions posed to the defendant were not “mission related; thus, the evidence should have been suppressed.

MALLOY