Court of Appeals Strikes Down Motion to Suppress and Defines Articulable Suspicion
Upon receiving a tip, a police officer visited Michael Williams at his home, but the officer’s information was not detailed enough to warrant more than a first-tier encounter. Mr. Williams fled the meeting after being notified that he was suspected in a theft. This prompted the officer to order him to stop; however, Mr. Williams did not comply. Mr. Williams was subsequently arrested for obstruction of justice.
Jenkins Superior Court determined that Michael Williams’ arrest was illegal because one is allowed to leave a first-tier encounter in Georgia. The Court felt that Mr. Williams was under no obligation to remain in the officer’s presence based upon the evidence provided.
The Appeals Court disagreed, citing that the officer was given articulable suspicion when the defendant chose to run after being notified about his alleged involvement in a theft. Because of Mr. Williams’ behavior, the officer asked him to halt to begin a brief investigation. The defendant continued running, and the Court noted that this action warranted his arrest for obstruction, declining Mr. Williams’ Motion to Suppress statements made after the arrest.