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The trooper wrote in his report that the drugs were found in a "cookie tin." I am imagining one of those round cookie tins that could actually hold a small handgun or knife, but I will have to take a look at it.
Right before the defendant asked to get back in the car, the officer asked her if there were any illegal narcotics in the car. The defendant hesitated, then stated "Not that I know of....there shouldn't be."
The defendant's awkward statement reinforces my feeling that the officer was looking for drugs rather than looking for a weapon.
And adding it all up, a felony warrant, two lies to the officer, a previous arrest for POM (and a lie about that), excessive nervousness, combined with hesitation and a non-committal statement on the presence of contraband in the car, gave the officer probable cause to believe that there would in fact be contraband in the car. I think the Terry stop argument is a good one as well as the tin can was big enough to hold a weapon.
Kudos to the defendant for a creative solution to the "cruel trilemma"facing a defendant under investigation [admit guilt, remain (suspiciously) silent, or falsely deny].
The furtive non-answer.
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