Seventh Circuit Week in Review: A Lawful Stop, But Just Barely

There is not much to report from the Seventh Circuit front this week.  The court issued only one new opinion in a criminal case, and it was not one that broke any new legal ground.  In United States v. Brewer (No. 08-3257), the defendant was convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm.  A police officer responding to a call about gunfire in an apartment complex saw Brewer driving away from the complex.  Brewer’s car was stopped on that basis, resulting in discovery of the incriminating weapon.  On appeal, Brewer argued that the gun should have been suppressed because the underlying stop was unconstitutional.  The court (per Judge Posner) agreed that it was at least a close call (“the case is on the line between reasonable suspicion and pure hunch”), but ultimately determined that the “unusual circumstances” of the case met the test for reasonability.

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