Case Name: People v. McDonough (.pdf)
Court: Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District
Date Decision Filed: 10/20/09
In this case, the defendant’s car was parked on the slim shoulder of a dark and busy road. A state trooper saw the car and approached it in order to see if the defendant needed help. The trooper turned on his overhead emergency lights when he pulled up behind the car. Ultimately, at the end of the encounter between the trooper and the defendant, the defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant filed a motion to suppress and the trial court granted it because the trooper detained the defendant without any legitimate basis — this happened when the trooper turned on his emergency lights. Two out of three appellate-court justices overruled the trial court because there was no police misconduct, and where there is no police misconduct, the exclusionary rule does not apply. According to these justices, the trooper’s use of his emergency lights “was entirely prudent and appropriate … [and] his failure to do so could very well be viewed as dangerous.” The third justice agreed in the result of the first two, however, this justice wrote a special concurrence in order to emphasize that no fourth-amendment violation occurred at all because the trooper’s seizure of the defendant “was proper under the community-caretaking doctrine.”
UPDATE (11/3/09): John Wesley Hall, Jr. comments on this case here.