State v. Emilo

In State v. Emilo, 144 Vt. 477, 479 A.2d 169 (1984), the Court addressed the reasonableness of a stop based on an officer's observation of a car with an out-of-state license plate traveling on a rural road after midnight. In that case, an officer spotted an unfamiliar car while returning home after responding to a call reporting a possible break-in at a local store. After investigating the store with another officer, they determined that no attempted break-in had been made. When the officer subsequently spotted the car during his drive home, the car was not operating erratically or in an unusual manner, and there were no allegations of any other traffic violations involving the car. Nevertheless, the officer effected a stop of the car. The Court upheld the finding by the trial court that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing regarding the car and its occupants. The Court stated that the officer's "'suspicion' that the car did not belong in the particular area in the early morning hours, without more, clearly falls outside of an 'articulable and reasonable' suspicion of some criminal wrongdoing." Emilo, 144 Vt. at 481, 479 A.2d at 171. The Court held that the defendant's motion to suppress should therefore have been granted.