10th Circuit: Detention and search of car passenger was proper

In United States v. Gurule, the Tenth Circuit reversed a district court’s order suppressing a gun found in the defendant’s pocket, and statements from the defendant admitting that he was a felon who knowingly possessed the gun.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he could not be detained after officers determined he had no warrants and was not dangerous. To the contrary, the Tenth Circuit held he could be detained until the conclusion of the traffic stop.

The court also upheld the officers’ decision to frisk the defendant, because one of the officers actually saw the gun in his pocket, which meant that reasonable suspicion for the frisk existed.

Chief Judge Tymkovich authored the opinion.

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