In United States v. Knights, No. 19-10083 (Aug. 3, 2020) (William Pryor, Rosenbaum, Michael Moore), the Court upheld the denial of a motion to suppress.
Officers parked a patrol car close to the defendant’s car and then approached him. The Court held that this was a consensual encounter that did not rise to the level of a seizure because a reasonable person would have felt free to leave. In fact, the defendant’s companion ignored the officers and left, and the defendant could have also driven away. The officers did not display their weapons, touch the defendant, or even speak to him, much less issue any commands. Nor did they activate their lights or siren. The defendant was free to abandon his car in a high-crime area because two officers were there, and he could have returned when they left, and the officers’ use of a flashlight to did not communicate a show of authority.