Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 6051
Honorable Carl Boyd, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Justice Connors dissented, with opinion.
1 Appellant, the People of the State of Illinois (State),
seeks reversal of the order of the circuit court of Cook
County granting defendant-appellee Mark Cassino's motion
to quash arrest and suppress evidence. For the following
reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook
3 Defendant was driving a rental car when he was pulled over
by a state trooper for speeding. During the traffic stop, the
state trooper prolonged the stop while he contacted the
rental car company (Hertz), who told the trooper that
defendant was not an authorized driver under the
vehicle's rental agreement. A Hertz employee asked the
trooper to recover the vehicle for Hertz. Defendant was
handcuffed and placed in the squad car. The trooper then
searched the rental vehicle and discovered narcotics. The
defendant was charged with possession of a controlled
substance and possession of a controlled substance with
intent to deliver.
4 On June 29, 2017, defendant filed a "motion to quash
arrest and suppress evidence" (the motion to suppress),
asserting that his "detention, search and arrest"
were without reasonable suspicion and that the search of the
rental car was unlawful.
5 On August 9, 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on
the motion to suppress. The defense called a single witness,
Trooper Garet Lindroth of the Illinois State Police. Trooper
Lindroth testified that on the afternoon of defendant's
arrest, he was stationed in his police vehicle "working
a speed-enforcement detail."
6 At approximately 1:38 p.m., a Ford vehicle passed him,
traveling at a speed of 89 miles per hour in a
55-mile-per-hour zone. Trooper Lindroth pursued the vehicle
and initiated a traffic stop. At approximately 1:40 p.m., he
approached the stopped vehicle, which was driven by
defendant. He informed defendant that he had been stopped for
speeding. Trooper Lindroth asked defendant "for his
driver's license and his rental agreement." Trooper
Lindroth testified that, when he approached the vehicle, he
"had already [run] the registration," which
indicated that it was a Hertz rental car.
7 Defendant provided the trooper with his driver's
license and the rental agreement. At that time, he
"indicated [to Trooper Lindroth] that he was not on the
rental agreement." Trooper Lindroth did not ask defendant
any questions about the rental agreement or how he came to
possess the rental car. Instead, Trooper Lindroth "went
back to [his] squad car and contacted Hertz about any
third-party drivers." He did so although there was no
"general order" of the Illinois State Police
directing officers to contact a rental company under such
circumstances. Additionally, he testified that he did not
suspect that the car was stolen.
8 Before he contacted Hertz, Trooper Lindroth used a computer
to check defendant's driver's license and confirmed
that the license was valid. Trooper Lindroth stated that this
check was completed in "under a minute."
9 Trooper Lindroth testified that it took "a few
minutes" for him to contact Hertz. He called the company
and "was connected to their emergency police side of
Hertz, and provided them with information they were asking of
the vehicle, and they informed me whether or not *** they
wanted me to recover the vehicle for them." According to
Trooper Lindroth, "Hertz indicated that [defendant] was
not an authorized driver [on the rental agreement], and that
they wanted the vehicle impounded." Trooper Lindroth
acknowledged that he did not attempt to contact the person
listed as the lessee on the rental agreement. Trooper
Lindroth did not ask defendant any questions regarding the
person listed on the rental agreement or how defendant came
to be driving the vehicle.
10 After speaking with Hertz, Trooper Lindroth returned to
the rental car. According to his arrest report, he returned
to the vehicle at 2:05 p.m. He agreed that this was
"roughly" 25 minutes after he initially stopped the
vehicle. At that time, Trooper Lindroth "informed
[defendant] that Hertz wanted their car back/recovered"
and that defendant "was not registered as the permitted
driver, nor was he an authorized additional driver." He
told defendant that he would be charged with criminal
trespass to the rental vehicle. Defendant was then handcuffed
and placed in the back of the squad car.
11 Trooper Lindroth stated that he proceeded to "perform
an inventory search" of the vehicle because he planned
to have the rental car towed. Trooper Lindroth acknowledged
that he never asked defendant for permission to search the
vehicle and that he had no search warrant.
12 When he searched the vehicle, Trooper Lindroth opened the
"center console" between the two front seats.
Inside, he found a tied black plastic bag that
"contained another clear-plastic bag" containing
"packed round balls" of suspected narcotics.
Trooper Lindroth placed defendant under arrest for possession
of a controlled substance. It does not appear from the record
that the trooper ever issued a speeding ticket to defendant,
which was the original reason for the stop.
13 Trooper Lindroth testified on cross-examination that
defendant had a valid Nevada driver's license. Trooper
Lindroth also stated that defendant promptly acknowledged
that his name was not on the rental agreement "[b]efore
he even gave [the agreement] to [Trooper Lindroth]."
14 Trooper Lindroth agreed that he called Hertz to verify
that defendant was not authorized to drive the vehicle.
Trooper Lindroth testified that a Hertz representative
confirmed that defendant was not authorized to drive the car,
and told him that Hertz "wanted [Trooper Lindroth] to
seize that car and take legal custody of that car."
15 Also on cross-examination, Trooper Lindroth was asked,
"if, in fact, that had been [defendant's] car and
you would have stopped him for a traffic violation, you would
have just g[iven] him the ticket, and he would have been free
to go?" He agreed that he detained defendant
"because he did not own that vehicle, he wasn't
authorized to drive that vehicle." However, Trooper
Lindroth acknowledged that he only learned that information
after calling Hertz.
16 Trooper Lindroth stated that he searched the car because
it was "our policy" to "inventory" a
vehicle before it is towed. Trooper Lindroth explained that
the police "must know what's in the vehicle"
because "we're liable and responsible for anything
that happens to any items or property inside that vehicle
while it goes to the tow yard." Trooper Lindroth
testified that the police tested the suspected narcotics at
17 On redirect examination, Trooper Lindroth agreed that he
has previously stopped cars that were not driven by the
registered owner but in such situations he has never before
called the actual owner of the vehicle during a traffic stop.
Trooper Lindroth agreed that he had not read the rental
agreement, which defendant provided to him upon being
stopped. Therefore, he did not know its guidelines for
drivers other than the person who rented the vehicle. He
claimed that he called Hertz for clarification regarding who
was authorized to drive the rental vehicle.
18 Trooper Lindroth agreed that "without that phone call
to Hertz, [he] simply would have given [defendant] a ticket,
and he would have been on his way." He also agreed that
he had already checked the validity of the defendant's
license before he contacted Hertz and that he did not suspect
that the vehicle was stolen.
19 No other witnesses were called at the hearing. After the
court heard argument from defense counsel and the State, it
granted defendant's motion to suppress.
20 In its ruling, the trial court identified the pertinent
issue as whether "contacting Hertz *** was related in
scope to the circumstance that justified the stop in the
first place." The court found that Trooper Lindroth
"certainly exceeded the scope of the stop when he on his
own accord found it necessary to call Hertz *** when the
Officer clearly stated that in a different circumstance, if
this were a private owner, a private car driven by the
non-owner of the car, he would not contact the owner of that
automobile." The court remarked that "[t]he
seizure, although it was lawful at its inception *** became
unlawful because of the prolonged time in the delay to call
Hertz for [Trooper Lindroth's] own personal
gratification." The trial court thus granted the
defendant's motion to suppress.
21 The State filed a motion to reconsider. In that motion,
the State argued that because defendant was not the renter
and was unauthorized to drive the rental car, he lacked any
reasonable expectation of privacy; he thus lacked
"standing" to challenge the search of that vehicle.
The State also argued that Trooper Lindroth's inquiry to
Hertz did not unreasonably prolong the stop. The State cited
the United States Supreme Court's decision in
Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S.___, 135 S.Ct.
1609 (2015), for the proposition that, during a traffic stop,
a police officer may make "ordinary inquiries incident
to the stop" such as checking a driver's license and
22 On October 20, 2017, the court reversed its earlier ruling
and granted the State's motion to reconsider. The court
first observed that in raising a fourth amendment challenge
to a search, it was defendant's burden to prove standing
by demonstrating that he had a reasonable expectation of
privacy in the place searched. The court determined that
defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the
rental car for two reasons. First, the court found that
defendant failed to show that his use of the car was
authorized by the vehicle's owner, Hertz. Second, the
court found that defendant "failed to show that he had
been given permission to use the vehicle by the renter of the
vehicle" as there was no evidence that the renter of the
vehicle had given defendant permission to drive the car. On
that basis, the court granted the State's motion to
reconsider, thus reversing its earlier ruling which had
suppressed the fruits of the search.
23 On November 17, 2017, defendant filed a motion to
reconsider the court's ruling granting the State's
motion to reconsider its initial decision on the motion to
suppress. Defendant's motion noted that the trial court
had granted the State's motion to reconsider on the basis
of defendant's lack of standing but its ruling had not
addressed the separate issue of "the reasonableness of
the length of time it took" for Trooper Lindroth to
detain defendant and contact Hertz. Defendant's motion
cited Rodriguez for the proposition that, absent
reasonable suspicion, an officer may not make inquiries
unrelated to the suspected traffic violation that
unreasonably prolong a traffic stop. The focus of
defendant's motion was that Trooper Lindroth lacked
reasonable suspicion to justify detaining defendant for 25
minutes while he contacted Hertz.
24 Before the trial court heard argument on the
defendant's motion to reconsider, the United States
Supreme Court decided Byrd v. United States, 584
U.S.__, __, 138 S.Ct. 1518, 1531 (2018), which held that the
"mere fact that a driver in lawful possession or control
of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement will
not defeat his or her otherwise reasonable expectation of
25 On June 14, 2018, the trial court heard argument on
defendant's motion to reconsider its ruling in the
State's favor, which reversed its original ruling in
defendant's favor. Defendant's counsel cited
Byrd in support of the proposition that defendant
had a reasonable expectation of privacy and, therefore, had
standing. The State responded that Byrd's facts
were distinguishable, and that under Byrd it
remained defendant's burden to show his "lawful
possession" of the rental car to establish his standing.
The State noted that, in Byrd, there was evidence
that the lessee of the rental vehicle had given the defendant
authority to use it, whereas in this case, defendant did not
present such evidence.
26 In response, defense counsel pointed out that Trooper
Lindroth had never asked defendant whether he had permission
from the person who rented the vehicle from Hertz to use the
rental car. Defense counsel also argued that the
trooper's decision to call Hertz resulted in an improper
"25-minute delay" for a speeding ticket and that
such delay independently supported granting defendant's
motion to suppress. The trial court agreed.
27 In its ruling, the court recalled that, when it initially
granted the motion to suppress, it "was troubled by the
25-minute detention [by] the police officer" and
believed that the delay "exceeded the scope of the
initial stop, ...