This opinion will
be unpublished and
may not be cited except as
Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Charles Edward Jackman,
August 21, 2007
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
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Suzanne Senecal-Hill, Assistant
Public Defender, 2221 University
Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis,
Considered and decided by Worke,
Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Minge, Judge.
N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
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.
E C I S I O N
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).
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.”
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)).
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
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
(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.