Can Police Blocks Civilians Vehicle Path in New York ?
In People v. Thomas, 19 AD3d 32, 792 N.Y.S.2d 472, lv denied 5 N.Y.3d 795, 835 N.E.2d 676, 801 N.Y.S.2d 816 (2005), a police officer observed the defendant seated in driver's seat of a vehicle parked next to a fire hydrant and the police officer testified at the suppression hearing that he blocked the defendant's vehicle by parking the police vehicle directly in front of the defendant's vehicle.
The First Department held the defendant was not seized by police in that when the police approach a motorist in a vehicle already stopped, there is no forcible stop and detention (a level III) under People v. Debour "even if the police stop their vehicle in a position that incidentally blocks the civilian's vehicle path." (Id. at 33)
The appellate court noted that "from the record that the blocking of the car was simply incidental to the legitimate police approach to the vehicle for the purpose of asking defendant to move it." (Id. at 35)