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Gas Station Pat Down Sinks Gun Rap on Appeal

A convicted felon is seeing the six-year jail sentence he received for carrying a loaded gun overturned after judges in the 1st District Appellate Court reversed a ruling that cops were within their rights to stop and frisk during their volunatary encounter at a Chicago gas station. Terry Flunder sought to have the derringer suppressed in Cook County Circuit Court, contending cops didn’t have probable cause to execute a Terry stop. Officer David Bachlar and his partner testified that Flunder’s evasive action when they questioned him were enough to make them fear for their safety.

Flunder was standing next to a vehicle at the pumps when Bachlar approached him and he then bent down behind the vehicle and rummaged his pockets after the officer requested to see his driver’s license. The state contended that the evasion in what was a voluntary encounter offered grounds to conduct the pat down that yielded the gun. The 1st District panel noted split in rulings from US circuit appeals courts about the validity of protective pat downs, siding with those in the 1st, 9th and 11th that engaging in a search without probable cause violates the 4th Amendment.