Thursday, November 04, 2010

People v. Greenwood (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 28, 2010)

Let me make sure I get this right.

A police officer can permissibly stop any car with valid temporary tags.  So long as the computer says that the "regular" registration has expired -- and neither confirms nor denies the existence of a temporary tag (perhaps because temporary tags aren't entered into the computer when you run the plate) -- the driver of the car can't complain.  That's what you get for driving with temporary tags.

If my reading of the opinion is accurate, then this seems to me a far-reaching opinion, and I'd have liked to see the Court of Appeal describe its import more clearly.  If my reading is wrong, I'd have liked the Court of Appeal to say where my reading goes astray.

'Cause that's indeed how I read it.

Now, maybe the Court of Appeal is saying:  "Since temporary tags are usually entered into the computer database, when the database doesn't show them, an officer may permissibly stop the car."  But that's not what the Court of Appeal actually says, and even after reading the entire opinion, and exploring my own preexisting knowlegdge, I'm not at all sure that this is in fact the case.  Accordingly, the opinion seems to stand for the validity of a stop even if temporary tags aren't usually entered into the system.  And if that's indeed the case, it's definitely a pretty expansive holding.