may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Daniel James Bergerson,
Filed December 9, 1997
File No. K6967500
Mark D. Kelly, 115 First Street, S.W., P.O. Box 163, Milaca, MN 56353 (for appellant)
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Minnesota Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, and
Douglas L. Johnson, Assistant Coon Rapids Attorney, 11155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapid, MN 55433 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
Daniel James Bergerson was charged with no proof of insurance in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169.791, subd. 2 (1996) and driving after revocation in violation of Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 2 (1996). When the trial court denied Bergerson's motion to suppress, Bergerson entered into a conditional guilty plea pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854, 857 (Minn. 1980). On appeal, Bergerson argues the trial court: (1) erred in finding the arresting officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity necessary to execute an investigatory stop; and (2) was clearly erroneous in finding the arresting officer did not observe Bergerson's 21-day temporary registration permit prior to executing an investigatory stop. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
On appeal from a trial court's suppression decision where the facts are not disputed, we independently determine whether the evidence requires suppression as a matter of law. State v. Othoudt, 482 N.W.2d 218, 221 (Minn. 1992). We will not disturb a trial court's findings of fact unless it is without substantial evidentiary support or was induced by an erroneous view of law. Reserve Mining Co. v. State, 310 N.W.2d 487, 490 (Minn. 1981).
Bergerson argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the arresting officer did not have reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity prior to executing an investigatory stop. We disagree. The record demonstrates the arresting officer: (1) observed an expired tab on the front license plate of Bergerson's car; (2) executed an investigatory stop; (3) noticed an expired tab on the rear license plate of Bergerson's car; and (4) saw an expired 21-day temporary registration permit on the rear window of Bergerson's car. Given these undisputed facts, the trial court properly concluded the arresting officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity necessary in executing a traffic stop. See United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417-18, 101 S. Ct. 690, 694-95 (1981) (holding police officer may make investigatory stop of vehicle if officer is able to articulate particular and objective basis for believing individual stopped was engaged in criminal activity); State v. Barber, 308 Minn. 204, 205-07, 241 N.W.2d 476, 476-77 (1976) (holding stop of vehicle proper when police officer observed defendant's license plates were wired on with baling wire, instead of bolted into place); see also State v. Hickman, 491 N.W.2d 673, 675 n.1 (Minn. App. 1992) (concluding officer had an obligation to complete his check of temporary permit as soon as he noticed it), review denied (Minn. Dec. 15, 1992); State v. Menard, 341 N.W.2d 888, 891 (Minn. App. 1984) (noting Barber illustrates only one observation may lead to inference that criminal activity might be occurring), review denied (Minn. Mar. 15, 1984).
Bergerson also argues the trial court was clearly erroneous in finding the arresting officer did not observe Bergerson's 21-day temporary registration permit prior to executing an investigatory stop. However, the arresting officer testified he knew the tab on the front license plate was expired because it was the wrong color, and he did not see the 21-day temporary registration permit before stopping Bergerson's vehicle because the permit was positioned in the rear window at an angle not visible from the squad car. Under these circumstances, the trial court's findings were not clearly erroneous. See State v. LaFrance, 302 Minn. 245, 246, 223 N.W.2d 813, 814 (1974) (holding, at pretrial suppression hearing, trial court acts as finder of facts deciding for purposes of admissibility which evidence to believe and whether state met its burden of proof); see also State v. Kvam, 336 N.W.2d 525, 529 (Minn. 1983) (holding trial court's finding is erroneous if court, after reviewing record, reaches firm conviction that mistake was made).