Justin Grigg had a history of driving through the neighborhood “booming” his car stereo. Police officers responded to a noise complaint called in against Justin. While the officers were interviewing the complaining witness outside his home, Justin drove by, fully obeying traffic laws and with his stereo inaudible. Nevertheless, the police followed Justin and pulled him over because of the noise complaint. In the course of the encounter with Justin, the officers discovered a rifle that had been modified to fire automatically. The United States Attorney’s Office charged Justin federally with possession of an unregistered machine gun.
Drawing on his experience spotting police missteps, Tom challenged the constitutionality of the officers’ stop of Justin. The question was whether the officers justifiably detained Justin for a noise ordinance violation that had been committed outside their presence, hours earlier. While the trial judge said yes, Tom appealed that decision to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision and directed suppression of the firearm discovered by the police.
As a result of Tom’s advocacy, Justin’s case was dismissed without him serving any time in custody.