State v. Aillon

In State v. Aillon, 202 Conn. 385, 521 A.2d 555 (1987) the Connecticut Supreme Court found the following circumstances justified a Terry stop. At approximately 1:00 a.m., a Hamden, Connecticut police officer received a radio dispatch of a possible burglary at a business establishment in his patrol district. En route to the scene of the reported crime, the Hamden police officer noticed an automobile, subsequently determined to be Aillon's, traveling without illuminated headlights. He then observed the vehicle being stopped by a police car from North Haven, Connecticut. The Hamden police officer radioed his dispatcher, requested information on the vehicle and its driver and requested, if possible, that the driver be detained pending an investigation of the burglary. He then proceeded without stopping to the scene of the burglary. Id. at 562-563. The North Haven police had stopped the defendants vehicle because of a loud muffler and unilluminated rear license plate. The officer merely gave the defendant an oral warning and permitted him to proceed. Id. at 562. Shortly thereafter, the North Haven police officer learned from a radio dispatch that the driver he had just released was a possible suspect in the burglary in Hamden. After broadcasting an alert for the vehicle, the defendant was ultimately stopped by two other North Haven police officers. The officers again reviewed the defendants credentials and conducted a visual examination of the interior of defendants automobile. The visual examination revealed the existence of a knife. Defendant ultimately permitted the police to inspect the knife which appeared bloodstained. Defendant offered the police a benign explanation for the existence of the apparently bloody knife. His explanation was accepted by the police after obtaining permission to examine the trunk of defendants automobile. Finding no evidence of a burglary, the defendant was given a written warning for the equipment defects and permitted to leave. It was later determined that the defendant was a suspect in the murders of his estranged wife and two other individuals who had been killed earlier that day. Critical in the successful prosecution of defendant for those murders was the knife which was observed in defendants car by the police after the second motor vehicle stop. Id. at 562-563. The Connecticut Supreme Court found the second motor vehicle stop of the defendant was supported by a reasonable and articulable suspicion, notwithstanding the fact that he had been stopped and released earlier for identical motor vehicle infractions. Id. at 563. The court found that the second stop occurred only minutes after defendants automobile had been seen in the vicinity of a recent burglary. That fact, together with the operation of defendants vehicle without headlights, supported a second stop of his vehicle, notwithstanding the absence of evidence of criminal activity during the first stop. Id. at 563-564.