This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Devin Quinn Westman,
Filed November 28, 2006
Carver County District Court
File No. CR-04-527
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, John B. Galus, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Michael A. Fahey, Carver County Attorney, Michael Wentzell, Assistant County Attorney, 604 East Fourth Street, Chaska, MN 55318 (for respondent)
Richard L. Swanson, 207 Chestnut Street, Suite 235, P. O. Box 117, Chaska, MN 55318 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Randall, Judge; and Kalitowski, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Devin Quinn Westman challenges his conviction of third-degree possession of a controlled substance pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 2(1) (2004), arguing that the district court erred by admitting evidence obtained during appellant’s detention because the scope and duration of his detention were not justified. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
was arrested by officers who were conducting surveillance of a controlled drug
buy and observed the suspected seller interacting with people in a vehicle in
which appellant was a passenger.
Appellant claims that the officers did not have articulable suspicion to
detain him and that the scope and duration of his detention were
unreasonable. This court reviews de novo the district court’s determination of
whether a search or seizure was justified by reasonable suspicion or probable
cause. State v. Lee, 585 N.W.2d 378, 382-83 (
investigative stop is lawful if it is “based on a reasonable and articulable
suspicion of ongoing criminal activity.”
State v. Britton, 604
N.W.2d 84, 89 (
argues that although the officer reasonably believed the alleged seller was
involved in illegal drug activity, the officer could not employ the reasonable,
articulable suspicion underlying the seller’s search and detention as a basis
for detaining appellant. He argues that
“merely speaking with and being in close proximity with others suspected of
criminal activity, without more, may be insufficient . . . to reach the
threshold of reasonable articulable suspicion.”
State v. Ingram, 570
N.W.2d 173, 177 (
Appellant argues that the length and scope of his detention were impermissible. The general rule is that a detention following a lawful stop “may not continue indefinitely but only as long as reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop.” State v. Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d 842, 846 (Minn. 1993). Any “intrusion not closely related to the initial justification for the search or seizure is invalid . . . unless there is independent probable cause or reasonableness to justify that particular intrusion.” State v. Askerooth, 681 N.W.2d 353, 364 (Minn. 2004). But law enforcement may continue the detention “as long as the reasonable suspicion for the detention remains . . . provided they act diligently and reasonably.” State v. Moffatt, 450 N.W.2d 116, 119 (Minn. 1990). “A court reviewing whether the police acted diligently and reasonably should not indulge in unrealistic second-guessing.” Id.
From the very beginning, the purpose of appellant’s detention was to effectuate a drug investigation. This case is distinguishable from traffic stop cases such as Askerooth. Here, neither a traffic violation nor a traffic stop occurred. The officers did not expand the scope of the stop to include investigation of other suspected illegal activity, as they did in Askerooth. Rather, they pursued the original purpose of the detention, which was to investigate a possible drug deal.
Appellant claims that because he was detained for 90 minutes the duration was unreasonable. But neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the Minnesota Supreme Court has established a rigid time limit on the duration of investigative detentions. Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d at 846. There is no bright line rule, “[s]ometimes a 20-minute detention will be too long, sometimes a detention of more than an hour will not be unreasonable. It all depends on the facts and circumstances.” Moffatt, 450 N.W.2d at 119.
Here, the record indicates that: (1) the officers saw the alleged seller approach his own vehicle and then walk to the other car at 6:34 p.m.; (2) the officers detained all persons involved in the alleged transaction while they investigated the alleged seller; (3) after searching the seller and his vehicle the officers found trace amounts of cocaine and $443 in cash and arrested the seller; (4) after being denied permission to search the vehicle in which appellant was a passenger the police requested a canine unit at 7:14 p.m.; (5) the dog arrived at 7:48 p.m. and reacted positively for the presence of drugs; and (6) officers found a baggie containing cocaine and after questioning appellant, he admitted the cocaine was his and that he had more inside the lining of his pants. We conclude that under the totality of the circumstances, the duration of appellant’s detention was reasonable.
The officers properly detained appellant while freezing the scene and conducting the on-scene investigation by searching the seller’s vehicle. And after finding cocaine in the seller’s car and $443 in his pockets, the officers’ suspicions that a drug sale occurred were not dispelled and further investigation of the occupants of the other vehicle was reasonable, including waiting for the canine unit. The district court specifically noted the diligence with which the officers conducted their investigation in determining the reasonableness of appellant’s detention: “Even if it took much longer, the detention was reasonable in light of the information [the officer] received, coupled with the corroborating observations.” We agree.
Nothing in the record indicates that the police intentionally or negligently delayed their investigation any longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of the detention. We thus conclude that in conducting their investigation, the officers were diligent and the scope and duration of appellant’s detention were not unreasonable.