State v. Lizotte

In State v. Lizotte, 11 Conn. App. 11, 525 A.2d 971, cert. denied, 204 Conn. 806, 528 A.2d 1154 (1987), the defendant was stopped by police for a motor vehicle infraction. Id., 13. During the stop, one of the officers scanned the inside of the passenger compartment with a flashlight as part of a routine search for weapons and he noticed an ammunition belt partially covered by a towel on the floor of the vehicle. Id., 14. On the basis of their suspicions that a weapon might accompany the ammunition, the police conducted a pat-down search of the defendant. Id. The police lifted the towel and discovered a fully loaded pistol. Id. The defendant was arrested and convicted for carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle. Id., 14-15. Prior to trial, the defendant in Lizotte moved to suppress the items seized in his vehicle. The Court upheld the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress. The Court concluded that the officers' observation of the gun belt with ammunition "constituted sufficient facts or circumstances to support a reasonable belief that the defendant was also carrying a weapon in the vehicle in violation of General Statutes 29-38 . . . ." Id., 19. The Court also held that "in determining whether the police officers had probable cause to arrest the defendant for carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, we also note that probable cause may exist even without ascertaining whether the defendant had a permit to carry the weapon discovered." Id.