The case of Virginia v. Moore began on February 20, 2003 with a transmission over the radio, of officers discussing a man known as “Chubs” driving in the area. This transmission was heard by Detective B.J. Karpowski, who then notified Detective Mark Anthony and Detective T. McAndrew to be on the lookout for “Chubs”. “Chubs”, a man who was recently released from a federal penitentiary, and was seen driving in the area on a suspended license. Officers Anthony and McAndrew responded to the call over the radio, and pulled over the man Officer Anthony recognized as “Chubs”. Moore however, was not the “Chubs” that Karpowski was referring to, but in fact was David Lee Moore, who also went by the nickname of “Chubs”. Even though Moore was not the man that Detective Karpowski was referring to, Moore also was driving under a suspended license, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Virginia.
The officers proceeded to place Moore under arrest and placed him in the police car. Due to a miscommunication between the two officers, Moore was not searched at the time of arrest but about an hour later when they obtained consent to search his hotel room. Upon searching Moore’s person, officers found $516 worth of cash and 16 grams of crack cocaine. Moore was subsequently booked and indicted on charges for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Moore attempted to have evidence obtained in the search suppressed, stating that the search violated his Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights.
Virginia statute states that “whenever an officer detains or places any person in custody for any violation of local or state law that is punished by Class 1 misdemeanor, the officer must issue a summons or otherwise notify him to appear at a specified place and time”. The court denied the motion to suppress, stating that “because Moore committed a misdemeanor in the presence of the detectives, they were permitted to arrest Moore”. Moore was consequently convicted of possession with the intent to distribute and sentenced to five years in prison. Following Moore’s conviction multiple appeals ensued and the Supreme Court overturned Moore’s conviction. Some facts and descriptions below are added to create a proper police report. The police report is written by Officer Mark Anthony, Portsmouth Police Department Detective.
On February 20, 2003 Officer McAndrew and I overheard radio communication regarding a man known as “Chubs”, who was seen driving in the area. There was a second transmission shortly after from Detective Karpowski, with orders to pull over “Chubs” for driving under a suspended license. I have personal knowledge of “Chubs’, also known as David Lee Moore, and spotted him and proceeded to pull him over. I approached Mr. Moore’s car and he was alone in the car with a large dog that seemed very upset, and was big enough that I did not want to get close to it. I asked Mr. Moore for his license and registration, he appeared very nervous, sweating profusely and was very shaky. David Lee Moore was a male, with brown hair, and brown eyes, and roughly 5’6 with a beard and was well kept. Moore was wearing dark blue jeans, with a black shirt, with a pocket on the right side and a black jacket. His confirmed his address as 1234 Second Street, Midtown, in Portsmouth Virginia.
He gave a cell phone number of 757-355-2425. Mr. Moore produced his driver’s license and registration, and I went back to the patrol car to run a check. I ran a quick check on Moore’s license and confirmed that his license was in fact suspended. After confirming that Moore’s license was suspended, Officer McAndrew and I proceeded to approach the car and asked Mr. Moore to step out of the car so that we could talk. I asked Mr. Moore if he knew that his license was suspended and asked him where he was going. Mr. Moore shrugged and stated “on my way to the hotel man” and pointed down the road. Under suspicion of narcotics Officer McAndrew and I placed Moore under arrest, McAndrew handcuffed Mr. Moore and informed of his Miranda Rights and placed him in the back of the patrol car.
Officer McAndrew proceeded to call animal control and requested that they come and pick up the dog. While waiting for animal control Officer McAndrew and I asked Mr. Moore about where he was staying and while taking down all necessary information, asked Mr. Moore to consent to a search of his hotel room, he agreed and consent form was signed. Animal Control arrived within 45 minutes and picked up the dog that was in Mr. Moore’s vehicle. Officer McAndrew and I proceeded to drive to Mr. Moore’s hotel room. Upon arrival Officer McAndrew and I did a quick search of Mr. Moore’s room and upon leaving the room realized due to a miscommunication that Mr. Moore’s person had not been searched prior to being placed in the patrol car.
Officer McAndrew searched Mr. Moore and found $516 cash in his pants pocket and 16 grams of crack cocaine in his jacket pocket. The items were bagged, tagged and placed in the trunk for transport to the evidence room. I informed Mr. Moore that we would be returning to his vehicle to search it due to the large amount of cash and drugs found on his person. The vehicle was searched and no illegal items were found. Moore was then transported to the county jail and booked on charges for driving under a suspended license and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute.
Case Arguments and Facts
A panel of the Virginia’s intermediate court reversed the conviction, in 2005, on Mr. Moore based on the 4th Amendment. Mr. Moore’s conviction was reversed again by the Supreme Court, in 2007, on the grounds that the arresting officer did not issue Mr. Moore a citation, and the search and arrest executed by Officer McAndrew and Officer Anthony violated the 4th Amendment. A certiorari was granted. Moore argued his case on January 14, 2008. Upon Mr. Moore’s trial, which he was being charged with the intent of selling crack cocaine, he filed a pretrial motion in attempt to suppress any evidence the police had on him. Mr. Moore believed that in accordance with the Virginia state law he should have been offered a summons rather than being arrested. If the police felt that there was a crime being committed in their presence, then and only then, do the statutes of the Fourth Amendment give officers the right to search a person’s property. Mr. Moore believed that driving on a suspended license was not probable cause for the police officers to search his vehicle or his hotel room, let alone without a warrant.
Mr. Moore felt like his rights as a citizen had been violated. Sometime in 2008, the trial court denied the motion that Mr. Moore filed, which was the suppression of evidence. Virginia law does not require the suppression of evidence obtained in violation of the Virginia state law. The bench trial found Mr. Moore guilty of the drug charge; possessing 16 grams of crack cocaine with the intent to sell. Mr. Moore was sentenced five years in prison with 18 months suspended. This means that Mr. Moore will serve a three in a half prison term out of the five years. Mr. Moore continued to fight his case; however. The appeals case was finally decided on in April 23, 2008, by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg found that the suppression of evidence gained in the search that Officer McAndrew and Officer Anthony conducted was, indeed unlawful, in accordance with the 4th Amendment.
The Judge found that regardless of Virginia state law, if a crime is being committed in the presence of law enforcement, then a warrantless arrest is constitutionally reasonable. Justice Ginsburg agrees with the Court’s conclusion in lines that Virginia could have made driving on a suspended license an arrestable offense; however, the people of Virginia chose not to. Moore argues that he should have not been arrested for driving on a suspended license, as it is a non-arrestable misdemeanor. For the infraction of the arresting officer failing to issue a summons and making an unlawful arrest, the officer could be subject to discipline. Mr. Moore could bring a tort suit against Officer McAndrew and Officer Anthony. However, Virginia law does not require the suppression of evidence obtained by the arresting officer, when a summons should have been given. Justice Ginsburg believes that, yes, the arrest and search of Mr. Moore does violate Virginia’s law; however, does not violate the 4thAmendment; therefore, Justice Ginsburg joins the Court’s judgment.
Forms of Communication
In the case of Virginia v. Moore there is an obvious lack of verbal communication that began with the first transmission on the radio regarding suspect “Chubs”. When the original broadcast went out to “be on the lookout for” “Chubs” there should have been a proper name to go with it. Nicknames can be common in nature and they should not be relied upon for identifying a suspect. The second form of miscommunication was at the time of David Moore’s arrest, Officer McAndrew and Officer Anthony should have searched the defendant prior to placing him in the car. There was probably some forms of nonverbal communications that took place in this case also.
When David was pulled over there was probably some sort of body language or sign of deceit that the officers witnessed to cause them to put the defendant under arrest and ask for permission to search his hotel room. The officers were seasoned detectives and probably witnessed some behavior in the defendant that caused them to feel suspicious of him. During the court case there would have been other forms of communication including, verbal, nonverbal and written.
The oral communication would have been seen in the trial. The oral communication would have been done throughout the trial by attorneys, witnesses and the judges that tried the case and the appeals judge. There would have been documentation throughout the whole process beginning with the field notes all the way through the appeals process. The nonverbal communication was probably seen in the attorneys, jury and defendant’s faces. By the end of this case there would have been all forms of communication, including written, oral, verbal and nonverbal, from the defendant, police, attorneys, the media and the judges involved. This court set precedence in the importance of communication throughout the process of simple traffic stops through the trial process.
American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. (2014, December). Virginia v. Moore (amicus). Retrieved from https://acluva.org/214/virginia-v-moore-amicus/ Elder, J. (2005, February). David Lee MOORE v. COMMONWEALTH of Virginia. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/va-court-of-appeals/1048932.html Harrell, H. L. (2008, October). Victory from the Jaws of Defeat, from the Jaws of Victory, from the Jaws of Defeat . . . Understanding Virginia v. Moore and Virginia’s Uniform Summons Rule. Retrieved from http://www.vachiefs.org/vapleac/vplb/3-2/Oct08_harrell_print.htm Supreme Court of the United States Blog. (2007, May). On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. Retrieved from http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/archives/06-1082_bio.pdf Supreme Court of the United States. (2007). Virginia v. Moore. Retrieved from http://supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/06-1082.pdf Supreme Court of the United States. (2007, October). VIRGINIA v. MOORE. Retrieved from http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/06-1082.pdf US Supreme Courts Media OYEZ. (2014). Virginia v. Moore. Retrieved from http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2007/2007_06_1082 acluva.org. (2007,
December). The Supreme Courtof the United States. Retrieved from http://www.acluva.org/docket/pleadings/moore_amicus.pdf