People v. Cascio

In People v. Cascio, 932 P.2d 1381 (Colo. 1997), officers approached the defendants in a parked car without illuminating the overhead lights on the patrol car -- a fact significant to the court's analysis. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, the officers discovered cocaine and methamphetamine in the vehicle. At the trial for possession of controlled substances, the trial court granted defendant's request and suppressed the evidence obtained as a result of the search. The supreme court reversed the trial court's suppression, and specifically held that the officers' approach toward a parked car and questioning of its occupants, without more, constituted a consensual encounter. Thus, the evidence was admissible because it was incident to a consensual search. The Cascio court, however, explicitly distinguished these types of encounters from traffic stops. The court stated that an officer's approach to a parked car is "analogous to a situation in which a police officer who is on foot approaches a pedestrian on a sidewalk rather than a full-blown traffic stop." People v. Cascio, supra, 932 P.2d at 1386.