Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408, 3 (1997)

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Opinion of the Court

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case we consider whether the rule of Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U. S. 106 (1977) (per curiam), that a police officer may as a matter of course order the driver of a lawfully stopped car to exit his vehicle, extends to passengers as well. We hold that it does.

At about 7:30 p.m. on a June evening, Maryland state trooper David Hughes observed a passenger car driving southbound on I-95 in Baltimore County at a speed of 64 miles per hour. The posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour, and the car had no regular license tag; there was a torn piece of paper reading "Enterprise Rent-A-Car" dangling from its rear. Hughes activated his lights and sirens, signaling the car to pull over, but it continued driving for another mile and a half until it finally did so.

During the pursuit, Hughes noticed that there were three occupants in the car and that the two passengers turned to look at him several times, repeatedly ducking below sight level and then reappearing. As Hughes approached the car on foot, the driver alighted and met him halfway. The driver was trembling and appeared extremely nervous, but nonetheless produced a valid Connecticut driver's license. Hughes instructed him to return to the car and retrieve the rental documents, and he complied. During this encounter, Hughes noticed that the front-seat passenger, respondent Jerry Lee Wilson, was sweating and also appeared extremely

Charles W. Burson of Tennessee, Jan Graham of Utah, Jeffrey L. Amestoy of Vermont, Julio A. Brady of the U. S. Virgin Islands, Christine O. Gregoire of Washington, Darrell McGraw, Jr., of West Virginia, and James E. Doyle of Wisconsin; for Americans for Effective Law Enforcement, Inc., et al. by Fred E. Inbau, Wayne W. Schmidt, Robert Wennerholm, James P. Manek, John Kaye, Richard M. Weintraub, and Bernard J. Farber; for the National Association of Police Organizations, Inc., by William J. Johnson; and for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation by Kent S. Scheidegger and Charles L. Hobson.

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