No seizure where no “show of authority” by police officer on foot towards pedestrian

State v. Harrington, Washington Court of Appeals, Division III, Docket No. 25497-6, filed May 13, 2008

A police officer in patrol observed Mr. Harrington walking at 11:00 PM and parked in a driveway ahead of him. The police officer got out of his car and asked to speak to Mr. Harrington. Mr. Harrington agreed and the officer told him that he was not under arrest. The officer asked what Mr. Harrington was doing and observed several items in Mr. Harrington’s pockets. Mr. Harrington first said that he had visited his sister, but when asked where she lived, he said he didn’t know. Mr. Harrington kept putting his hands in his pockets, despite the officer’s requests to not do so. The police officer asked to check Mr. Harrington’s pockets and he agreed. The officer did a pat down of the outside of the pocket and felt a hard cylindrical object. Mr. Harrington said it was a meth pipe. The officer told Mr. Harrington that he was under arrest. A small amount of methamphetamine was discovered during the search incident to arrest.

The Court of Appeals, Division III, held that the encounter between the officer and Mr. Harrington was not a seizure and that there was no show of authority by the police officer to constitute a seizure of Mr. Harrington. The Court also held that the pat down of the pockets was not a search or seizure and was justified when Mr. Harrington kept putting his hands in his pockets and acting nervously. The Court affirmed the admission of the evidence and the conviction.