This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).







State of Minnesota,





Mathew Lesmeister,




Filed April 17, 2007

Klaphake, Judge


Stevens County District Court

File No. K6-05-64



Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101-2134; and


Bruce W. Klopfleisch, Assistant Morris City Attorney, 109 East Sixth Street, P.O. Box 66, Morris, MN  56267 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Theodora Gaïtas, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN  55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Matthew Lesmeister claims that the district court erred in declining to suppress evidence against him at his trial because the officer who arrested him for third-degree driving while impaired lacked a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to make an investigatory stop.  Because the facts establish that police stopped appellant’s vehicle after observing it at 11:00 p.m. in a public cemetery that had posted no trespassing signs, and where incidents of vandalism and underage drinking had occurred, the district court properly concluded that police had a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.  We therefore affirm the district court’s decision to deny appellant’s suppression motion.


            The Minnesota and United States Constitutions protect against unreasonable searches and seizures.  U.S. Const. amends. IV, XIV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10.  An investigatory stop of a vehicle is reasonable if a police officer knows of specific articulable facts which objectively support a suspicion of criminal activity.  State v. Anderson, 683 N.W.2d 818, 822-23 (Minn. 2004); Marben v. State, Dep’t of Pub. Safety, 294 N.W.2d 697, 699 (Minn. 1980).  Minnesota cases “do not require much of a showing in order to justify a traffic stop.”  State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575, 578 (Minn. 1997).  While an actual violation of law is not always required, see, e.g., State v. Engholm, 290 N.W.2d 780, 783 (Minn. 1980), a stop may not be based on mere “whim, caprice, or idle curiosity.”  Marben, 294 N.W.2d at 699 (quotation omitted).

            This court reviews de novo a district court determination of whether a police officer had reasonable articulable suspicion to make an investigatory stop of a vehicle.  State v. Burbach, 706 N.W.2d 484, 487 (Minn. 2005).  This court “considers the totality of the circumstances, giving due regard to an officer’s training and experience in law enforcement.”  State v. Uber, 604 N.W.2d 799, 801 (Minn. App. 1999).

            Here, the police officer’s stated reasons for the stop include the location of appellant’s vehicle, the time of day, and the fact that other crimes had occurred in the area.  Under Minnesota law, these facts support the district court’s determination that the officer had a reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity.  See, e.g., id. at 801-02 (affirming investigative stop of vehicle where arresting officer’s observations included nature of the area, time of night, and defendant’s unusual driving conduct); Olmscheid v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 412 N.W.2d 41, 42-43 (Minn. App. 1987) (affirming investigative stop of vehicle in early morning hours where arresting officer’s observations included defendant’s location in commercial area on dead-end street where prior property crimes had occurred), review denied (Minn. Nov. 6, 1987); Cobb v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 410 N.W.2d 902, 903 (Minn. App. 1987) (affirming investigative stop of vehicle parked for ten minutes in a location during three-hour period where previous property crimes had occurred); Thomeczek v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 364 N.W.2d 471, 472 (Minn. App. 1985) (affirming investigative stop of vehicle where arresting officer observed defendant’s vehicle parked with its lights on in the late evening in an area of ongoing residential development).  On these facts, we observe no error in the district court’s refusal to suppress the evidence obtained after the investigatory stop of appellant’s vehicle.