Defendant Found In His Car With a Gun Was Not Arrested As There Was No Justification for Intrusion Into the Car

In People v. Engle, 74 A.D.2d 583, 424 N.Y.S.2d 306 (2nd Dep't 1980) the defendant was observed slumped over the wheel of a parked car with the key in the ignition but the engine off. The officer tapped on the driver's window to get defendant's attention. Upon the defendant's failure to respond, the officer opened the door and reached in and shook the defendant, who had apparently been asleep. The defendant finally awoke and the officer asked him if anything was wrong. The defendant did not answer. The officer then noticed that defendant had a laceration over his eye and that blood had trickled down his face and onto his coat. In suppressing a gun that was subsequently seized from the defendant's vehicle, the Appellate Division held: In the absence of a reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity, there was no basis upon which to detain him, require that he furnish a registration for the car or identify himself. It follows, then, that there was no predicate for defendant's arrest and by the same token, the gun was not properly seized under the plain view doctrine because there was no justification for intrusion into the car.