4 Circumstances That May Be Indicative of a Police Seizure

In People v. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d 382, 390, 560 N.E.2d 309, 148 Ill. Dec. 7 (1990), the supreme court listed several circumstances that may be indicative of a seizure: (1) the threatening presence of several officers; (2) the display of a weapon by an officer; (3) some physical touching of the person of the citizen; (4) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled." Murray drew these factors from United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 64 L. Ed. 2d 497, 100 S. Ct. 1870 (1980), and took them quite seriously. Finding that none of the factors were present in the facts before it, Murray concluded that no seizure had occurred. The majority apparently has a less complimentary view of the Mendenhall factors, for it acknowledges them only in remarking that, in Mendenhall, "the Court observed that the tone of an officer's voice might convey to a reasonable person that he or she is not free to leave." Slip op. at 13. The majority then draws a forced comparison between the use of a flashlight and a peremptory tone of voice. This is not how precedent is to be acknowledged. In their wisdom, both the United States Supreme Court and our supreme court have not abandoned us to the situational decision-making that the majority oddly feels is its lot. The guidance is there if the majority would have it. None of the Mendenhall factors are present here, and that is quite obvious.