The law also is well settled that a traffic stop constitutes an unreasonable seizure if it is not supported by reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
United States v.Chanthasouxat, 342 F.3d 1271, 1275 (11th Cir. 2003).
Officer DeHart had no probable cause to conduct a traffic stop against the Shulers. Infact, the Shulers contend that Officer DeHart was not even in a position to witness thealleged violation. DeHart conducted an unreasonable seizure from the outset, but hislawlessness became even worse when he concluded the traffic stop, but then proceeded to
“serve” the Shulers with co
urt papers in the instant case.10.
The law on such matters has been settled for many years, at the federal and state levels:The officer may further detain the driver only if he has probable cause to arrest the driver for some other non-traffic offense,
Hawkins v. State, 585 So. 2d 154 (Ala., 1991,)
or has a
reasonable suspicion of the driver’s involv
ement in some other criminal activity justifying further detention for investigatory purposes.
Terry v. Ohio, 391 U.S. 1 (1968).
DeHart’s actions constitute an outrageous violation of the Shulers’
civil rights. His
“service” of process, during a traffic s
top that was unlawful to begin with and then wasunlawfully prolonged, is invalid, unconstitutional, and is due to be quashed.12.
DeHart likely engaged in criminal activity, under
18 U.S.C. 242
, and service thereforeinvalid, unconstitutional, and is due to be quashed.13.
The Shulers intend to pursue a federal lawsuit against DeHart, the Shelby County
Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Chris Curry, and anyone else (including plaintiffs Riley and
Duke) who is responsible for the unlawful seizure described herein.14.
Shulers also intend to report DeHart’s actions to the U.S. Justice Department and theAlabama Attorney General’s Office for criminal investigation.