This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Marvin Jewell Dancy,
St. Louis County District Court
File No. K398600877
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Kelly O’Neill Moller, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, #500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, 100 North Fifth Avenue West, #501, Duluth, MN 55802-1298 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Jodie L. Carlson, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
After being charged with possession of cocaine, appellant moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that there was neither reasonable suspicion for the stop of his car nor probable cause for his arrest, and there was no basis for the search warrant on which the police relied. The district court denied the motion and found appellant guilty in a bench trial. Appellant challenges the court’s suppression rulings. Because we find no error in the suppression rulings, we affirm.
Officer Ramsay was on bicycle patrol duty on September 23, 1998, when at 2:55 p.m. he noticed a gray Chevrolet Caprice, with license number BSX 666. A day earlier, he had received information that the car was involved in an investigation by the special investigations unit (SIU). After contacting the SIU, Ramsay learned that the people associated with that vehicle were involved with the sale of crack cocaine and that the SIU was interested in finding out the identity of the occupants of the vehicle.
While Ramsay followed the car, he contacted the SIU and learned that “they may have a search warrant.” Ramsay noticed that the windows of the car appeared illegally tinted, and when the car made an illegal right turn, he called for other officers to stop the vehicle. Ramsay’s reason for the stop was to identify the occupants and warn them of the violations he had observed. Two officers in a marked squad stopped the car at 3:02 p.m. The officers identified appellant Marvin Jewell Dancy as the driver and Donald Carter as his passenger.
Ramsay checked with the SIU to determine the status of the search warrant and was told that it was on its way to being signed. Two minutes later, he was told that the search warrant had been signed, although in actuality it was still being completed, and he was instructed to transport the occupants back to the police station and to seize the vehicle. At some point during the stop, the officers performed a pat-search on Dancy and Carter because of information that they could be dangerous, but found no drugs or other contraband. Within about ten minutes after the initial stop, Dancy and Carter were transported in separate squad cars for the two-block trip to the police station. The officers informed Dancy that he was being transported because there was a search warrant for his car and the occupants.
The search warrant was signed at 3:45 p.m. and read to Dancy at approximately 4:00 p.m. Subsequently, the police searched him and seized drugs from his person.
All of the officers in the SIU were aware that the search warrant was partially completed and that there was an ongoing investigation. The five officers in the SIU had been attempting to locate Dancy and Carter. The search warrant had not yet been completed or signed at the time of the stop because the officers were uncertain whether Dancy and Carter were still in town.
When reviewing pretrial orders concerning the suppression of evidence, this court independently reviews the facts and determines, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred in its decision to suppress the evidence. State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (Minn. 1999).
Dancy concedes that the police had a reasonable, objective basis to stop his vehicle because he made an illegal left turn and his car windows were illegally tinted. See State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575, 578 (Minn. 1997) (finding minor traffic violation sufficient to justify vehicle stop). He argues, however, that the 43-minute detention and the transportation to the police station exceeded the time that was necessary to carry out the purpose of the stop. See State v. Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d 842, 846 (Minn. 1993) (general rule is that vehicle stop may continue “only as long as reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop”(citation omitted)). Dancy argues that once the police identified him, they had no further purpose to detain him and that they could not detain him for a simple traffic violation. We agree that the length of the detention for Dancy’s minor traffic violations was unreasonable.
Our ruling in State v. Carter, No. C9-00-1460, 2001 WL 604994 (Minn. App. June 5, 2001), review denied (Minn. Aug. 22, 2001), is instructive because the relevant facts in Carter and those of this case are virtually identical. Donald Carter was the passenger in Dancy’s car. Id. at *1. Along with Dancy, Carter was detained, transported to the police station, and searched. Id. The police found cocaine on Carter’s person and charged him with two counts of second-degree possession of cocaine. Id. Dancy and Carter had a joint omnibus hearing in January 1999. The district court denied Carter’s motion to suppress as well as Dancy’s motion. Id. Carter submitted his case to the district court on a stipulated record and was found guilty on both counts. Carter appealed the district court’s suppression order. In Carter, we determined that the scope and length of Carter’s detention exceeded the constitutional limits of an investigative stop. Id. at *2.
Likewise, in this case, after the police identified Dancy and informed him of the traffic violations, the lengthy detention exceeded the constitutional limits of an investigative stop. See State v. Tomaino, 627 N.W.2d 338, 340 (Minn. App. 2001) (after purpose of the stop was met, any lengthy detention exceeded the constitutional limits of an investigative stop unless the continued detention was supported by a distinct set of particularized and objective facts supporting a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity). When the police handcuffed Dancy, placed him in the squad car, and transported him to the police station, the stop was no longer a reasonable investigatory stop; it was a warrantless arrest, which requires probable cause. See Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d at 846-47 (finding that detention of individual two miles from his residence for more than an hour while search warrant was being sought was not reasonable pre-arrest investigatory stop).
Dancy argues that, at the time he was arrested, the police did not have probable cause to believe that he was involved in criminal activity. He first argues that most of the information in the warrant application was general and stale. He also argues that the current information obtained from informants and a concerned citizen is not reliable because the warrant affidavit does not include details about the informants’ and citizen’s basis of knowledge. We disagree.
A warrantless seizure of a person is justified if the police have probable cause for the arrest at the time of the seizure. Id. Minnesota applies a “totality of the circumstances” test to determine whether probable cause exists. State v. Ward¸ 580 N.W.2d 67, 71 (Minn. App. 1998). Probable cause is established if the police can show that, using an objective inquiry, they “reasonably could have believed that a crime has been committed by the person to be arrested.” State v. Riley, 568 N.W.2d 518, 523 (Minn. 1997). When more than one officer is involved in an investigation, “the entire knowledge of the police force is pooled and imputed to the arresting officer for the purpose of determining if sufficient probable cause exist[ed] for an arrest.” Id. (citation omitted).
Referring again to our decision in Carter, in which we determined that the police had probable cause to arrest, search, and detain Carter, we conclude in this case that the police had probable cause to arrest and search Dancy. Dancy was part of an ongoing investigation within the police department, and one of the officers testified that people selling crack cocaine often come to Duluth only for short periods of time.
The affidavit provides both historical and current information about Dancy’s known crack-cocaine sales activity in Duluth. Included in the information added to the warrant after Dancy’s stop was information on Dancy’s drug sales activity in Duluth during the preceding two weeks.
CRI #3, a known reliable informant, informed police on the day before Dancy’s arrest that Dancy was driving around in a gray vehicle with license number BSX 666 and delivering cocaine from the vehicle. CRI #3 also indicated that he had seen Dancy selling crack cocaine two weeks earlier. Also on the day before Dancy’s arrest, a concerned citizen informed the police of concerns regarding a black male driving a gray vehicle, license number BSX 666. And the police independently confirmed the information regarding the vehicle and the identities of its occupants. See State v. McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d 700, 704 (Minn. 1990) (determining that, under the totality of circumstances, anonymous tip and corroboration by the police can be sufficient to establish probable cause to support search warrant).