TOPEKA – (April 1, 2019) – The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear an appeal by the State of Kansas that will review a state supreme court decision in a Douglas County vehicle-stop case, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
In July 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits law enforcement officers from making a routine vehicle stop when the officer knows the registered owner does not have a valid driver’s license and has no reason to think that anyone other than the owner is driving. The Kansas court held that, without more information, it is not reasonable under the Fourth Amendment for a police officer to suspect that the registered owner of a vehicle is the person driving the vehicle.
“I am encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear our appeal to help bring clarity to this aspect of the law,” Schmidt said. “Numerous other state supreme courts and federal courts have ruled it is reasonable for an officer to suspect the registered owner of a vehicle is the person driving their car. We look forward to making our argument before the justices in the fall.”
While on routine patrol, the officer involved in this case ran a registration check on a pickup truck with a Kansas license plate. The Kansas Department of Revenue’s electronic database indicated the truck was registered to an individual whose driver’s license had been revoked. Without observing any other traffic infractions or identifying the driver, the officer pulled over the vehicle, discovered the owner was in fact the driver, and cited the defendant as a habitual violator for driving while his license was revoked.
Currently, further state court proceedings in the case are on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on the merits in the appeal.
Oral arguments in the appeal, Kansas v. Charles Glover, No. 18-556, will be set for the fall. The case is one of three the attorney general’s office will argue at the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. The other two cases, granted last month, are Kansas v. Ramiro Garcia, an identity theft case arising from Johnson County, and Kansas v. James Kraig Kahler, a death penalty case arising from Osage County.