This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







State of Minnesota,





Charles Edward Jackman,




Filed August 21, 2007


Worke, Judge


Washington County District Court

File No. KX-06-102



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


Doug Johnson, Washington County Attorney, Jennifer Bovitz, Assistant County Attorney, 14949 62nd Street North, P. O. Box 6, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Suzanne Senecal-Hill, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Minge, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

WORKE, Judge

            On appeal from convictions of fifth-degree controlled substance crime and providing a false name to police, appellant argues that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him.  We affirm.


            Appellant Charles Edward Jackman argues that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress based on his contention that a reasonable, articulable suspicion to seize him did not exist.  “When reviewing pretrial orders on motions to suppress evidence, we may independently review the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred in suppressing—or not suppressing—the evidence.”  State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (Minn. 1999).  In the absence of a factual dispute, whether an investigatory stop is unlawful is a question of law subject to de novo review.  Id.; State v. Waddell, 655 N.W.2d 803, 809 (Minn. 2003).

            The United States and Minnesota Constitutions prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures.  U.S. Const. amend. IV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10.  In Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court held that investigatory stops are not in violation of the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures when the officer has a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.  392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968).  A police officer may make an investigative seizure of an individual if the officer is “able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.”  Id.   Additionally, because warrantless searches are per se unreasonable, the second search is one of several “certain narrow exemptions.”  State v. Robb, 605 N.W.2d 96, 100 (Minn. 2000).  One exemption is that an officer may search “a person’s body and the area within his or her immediate control” if the search is “incident to a lawful arrest.”  Id. (citing Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 763, 89 S. Ct. 2034, 2040 (1969)). 

            The undisputed facts here are that an officer observed a dark-colored BMW, which he believed was the same vehicle he had seen parked at a residence the police had under surveillance.  The officer ran the vehicle’s license plate and followed it.  A reasonable, articulable suspicion existed to stop appellant’s vehicle when the license-plate check indicated that the plates were registered to a vehicle that was not a BMW.  See State v. Pike, 551 N.W.2d 919, 922 (Minn.1996) (upholding as constitutional the stop of a suspect’s vehicle based on a routine computer check of the suspect’s license plates).  The fact that the officer ran the wrong license-plate number does not invalidate the stop.  When an officer’s articulated suspicion is based on a mistake, an investigative detention is valid if the officer’s suspicion was reasonable.  See State v. Sanders, 339 N.W.2d 557, 559-60 (Minn. 1983) (holding a traffic stop valid when an officer mistakenly, but reasonably, suspected that the driver was another individual); City of St. Paul v. Vaughn, 306 Minn. 337, 341, 237 N.W.2d 365, 368 (1975) (upholding stop even though officer mistakenly thought driver had suspended license).  When the officer approached him, appellant stated that he had a valid license and identified himself as James Aaron McClafferty, DOB 5/10/74.  The officer remembered that this was the same false name appellant gave the officer on a previous occasion.  The officer advised appellant that he remembered him and asked him if McClafferty was the same false name previously provided.  Appellant hesitated and then correctly identified himself.  Appellant was arrested for providing false information.  The controlled substance subsequently seized from appellant was the result of a valid search incident to arrest.  Because the officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop appellant and the evidence was seized in a valid search incident to arrest, the district court did not err by denying appellant’s suppression motion.