There are decisions that clearly demonstrate that running away from the police is not, in and of itself, sufficient to rise to "reasonable, articulatable suspicion" that a crime was committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed.
Ignoring or Running From Police Does Not Give Police Right to Seize and Pat Down for Firearms
"[W]hen an officer, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, approaches an individual, the individual has a right to ignore the police and go about his business." Id. at 125 (citing Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983)). Moreover, a "'refusal to cooperate, without more, does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure.'" Id. (quoting Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 437 (1991)). That was precisely what occurred here. Under these circumstances, Jones' failure to obey the officer's instructions cannot serve as the justification for his seizure. Simply put, Jones' actions were not on par with those of Wardlow in providing reasonable suspicion to police that criminal activity "[was] afoot." Because we hold that the trial court should have suppressed the handgun unlawfully seized from Jones' person, we need not and, thus, do not address the issue of whether the Commonwealth established that the handgun was a firearm within the meaning of Code §§ 18.2-308 and 18.2-308.2."
It has always been necessary for the prosecution to prove each and every element of the crime as defined in the legislation criminalizing the particular behavior. Often the courts are lax in "presuming" an element has been proved; rarely does a defendant challenge the proof of all elements.
In this case the prosecution failed to present the required proof and the defendant somehow knew that. Whether or not the defendant was otherwise guilty of trespass he got off on a technicality. CAs are now on notice to cover all the bases. An affidavit from the property owner, agent or leasee would have sufficed.
There is a lesson for us in here, as well as the CAs. Know what the law requires. Or hire an attorney that knows. The hoops were put there for a purpose - make them jump through each and every one cleanly.