This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




Erin Glynn Marshall, petitioner,



Commissioner of Public Safety,


Filed May 5, 1998


Willis, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 474965

Daniel W. Voss, Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., 1500 Norwest Financial Center, 7900 Xerxes Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55431 (for appellant)

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Sean R. McCarthy, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent)

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



Erin Glynn Marshall appeals from a district court order sustaining revocation of her driver's license under Minn. Stat. § 169.123, the implied consent law. We affirm.


On May 29, 1997, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Officer Patricia Gjerde of the University of Minnesota Police Department was patrolling in her squad car near a Stadium Village parking lot when she heard a woman scream. Believing someone needed help, Officer Gjerde drove into the parking lot and she saw some people moving and "dodging" around in a Jeep. She stopped her squad car behind the Jeep so that it could not move and got out to question the occupants. Three women were in the car; appellant Erin Glynn Marshall was in the driver's seat. Officer Gjerde asked if anyone had screamed, and one of the occupants answered that they were singing or "screaming with the music on the radio." During a conversation with Marshall and her passengers regarding a song on the radio and Marshall's clothing, Officer Gjerde noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the Jeep's occupants. In response to the officer's questioning, all three women admitted they had been drinking.

A breath test showed that Marshall had an alcohol concentration of .10 or more, and the Commissioner of Public Safety revoked her driver's license as provided in Minn. Stat. § 169.123, subd. 4(e) (1996). Marshall petitioned the district court to rescind the revocation.

After a hearing, the district court found that (1) there was a stop, (2) investigating the scream to find out if anyone needed help was the articulable reason for the stop, (3) Officer Gjerde's questioning of Marshall and her passengers was reasonable follow-up to determine whether someone needed help, and (4) Officer Gjerde smelled an alcoholic beverage "virtually simultaneously with her conversation with the people about the scream." The court concluded that the stop was lawful and sustained the revocation. This appeal followed.


The district court's findings of fact will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. State v. Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d 840, 843 (Minn. 1992), aff'd, 508 U.S. 366, 113 S. Ct. 2130 (1993). Where the facts are not significantly in dispute, this court determines as a matter of law if an officer had an adequate basis for a seizure. Kranz v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 539 N.W.2d 420, 422 (Minn. App. 1995). The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Officer Gjerde's investigatory stop was a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. See State v. Sanger, 420 N.W.2d 241, 243 (Minn. App. 1988) (finding that blocking vehicle with squad car was seizure).

A stop is lawful if the officer is able to articulate at the revocation hearing * * * that he had a "particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular persons stopped of criminal activity."

Berge v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 730, 732 (Minn. 1985) (quoting United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417-18, 101 S. Ct. 690, 694-95 (1981)). Police officers may base their suspicion of criminal activity on the totality of the circumstances and may draw "inferences and deductions that might well elude an untrained person." Id.

Marshall argues that (1) Officer Gjerde failed to articulate a particular and objective basis for believing that the scream came from Marshall's Jeep, and (2) it was unreasonable for the officer to continue to detain Marshall after learning that none of the Jeep's occupants needed help.

I. Initial stop

To support an investigatory stop, an officer need only show a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Berge, 374 N.W.2d at 732. The support necessary to justify an officer's suspicion is minimal. See, e.g., id. at 733 (finding stop valid where violation reasonably inferred from what officer perceived, even though officer did not see violation); State v. Johnson, 444 N.W.2d 824, 827 (Minn. 1989) (finding stop valid where driver made eye contact with trooper and made sudden turn off highway, causing trooper to suspect deliberate evasion). Officer Gjerde testified that she heard a scream, thought someone needed help, thought the scream came from the area where the Jeep was located, and saw movement in the Jeep. There were sufficiently particularized and objective bases to support Officer Gjerde's stop of Marshall.

II. Length of detention

From the various accounts of witnesses at the hearing, Officer Gjerde's investigatory detention of Marshall lasted from two to seven minutes. Courts have not imposed a rigid time limit on the permissible duration of a detention that follows a lawful stop. State v. Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d 842, 846 (Minn. 1993). The general rule is that an investigatory detention "may not continue indefinitely but only as long as reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop." Id. Where an officer makes a stop but then determines that no crime has occurred, there is no further basis for detention. State v. Hickman, 491 N.W.2d 673, 675 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. Dec. 15, 1992). But the supreme court has held that an investigatory detention of one hour was not too long where three suspects were stopped at night near the scene of a burglary and the officer's reasonable suspicion of their involvement in the crime had not yet been dispelled. State v. Moffatt, 450 N.W.2d 116, 119 (Minn. 1990).

Marshall argues that once the officer was told that Marshall and her passengers were just singing and did not need help, the purpose for the stop ended and any subsequent conversation was only "to satisfy her idle curiosities." See Sanger, 420 N.W.2d at 242 (finding stop unlawful when officer just wanted "to see what was going on"). But Officer Gjerde testified she could not immediately determine that the occupants were all safe and the conversation she had with the occupants helped her to dispel the notion that someone was in trouble.

We note that the district court's finding that the officer smelled an alcoholic beverage "virtually simultaneously with her conversation" about the scream goes beyond the facts in the record. But the court did not rely solely on that fact in making its decision, and the record supports its finding that Officer Gjerde's ensuing conversation with Marshall and her passengers was a reasonable follow-up to the initial question about screaming. The length of the detention was not longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop, which was to determine whether someone needed help.

The district court did not err in determining that the stop and investigatory detention of Marshall were reasonable.