County District Court File No. 27-CR-15-34540
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Susan L.
Segal, Minneapolis City Attorney, Zenaida Chico, Assistant
City Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
F. Moriarty, Fourth District Public Defender, Laura Heinrich,
Assistant Public Defender, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for
Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Ross,
Judge; and Jesson, Judge.
Statutes section 169.48, subdivision 1(a) (2014), requires
drivers to display lighted headlamps and lighted tail lamps
at any time when it is raining, regardless of visibility.
state's pretrial appeal, appellant argues that the
district court erred by suppressing evidence obtained after
the stop of respondent's vehicle. We reverse and remand.
December 8, 2015, Minneapolis Police Officers Douglas Lemons
and Kyle Ruud were patrolling in their squad car near Penn
Avenue. Shortly before 12:30 p.m., while it was raining
lightly, the officers observed a Chevrolet van that was being
driven without lighted headlamps and lighted tail lamps. They
pulled behind the van and briefly followed it. When the van
pulled over to the curb, the officers initiated a traffic
stop. Respondent Catherine McCabe was the van's driver.
During the stop, McCabe informed the officers that a handgun
was located in the van's middle console. The officers
recovered the handgun, which McCabe admitted belonged to her.
McCabe did not have a permit to carry the handgun.
state charged McCabe with possessing a pistol without a
permit in violation of Minnesota Statutes section 624.714,
subdivision 1a (2014). McCabe moved the district court to
suppress the evidence obtained from the stop, arguing that
the officers did not reasonably suspect that she was
committing a traffic violation when they stopped her. At the
suppression hearing, both officers testified and a video
recording of the traffic stop was played. Officer Lemons
stated that he stopped the van because he believed its
headlamps and tail lamps were not lighted while it was
raining and because the driver did not signal her move to the
curb. But Officer Lemons admitted that he was wrong about the
failure to signal and agreed that the video recording shows
that McCabe did signal when she pulled over to the side of
district court concluded that the officers did not have a
reasonable, articulable suspicion that McCabe was violating
Minnesota Statutes section 169.48, subdivision 1(a), when the
officers stopped her, stating:
While Minnesota Law mandates that a car display lighted
headlamps and tail lamps at any time it is raining, the
statute also mandates that lighted headlamps and tail lamps
are required at any time visibility is impaired or there is
"not sufficient light to render clearly discernible
persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet
ahead." Minn. Stat. 169.48(1)(a). Reading the statute as
a whole, the intent of the law is to require headlight and
taillight illumination when visibility is obscured by a
distance of 500 feet ahead. The statute does not define
"raining" but the squad video shows that it is very