may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Michael Amaro Texidor,
Filed June 15, 1999
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 98014441
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Donna J. Wolfson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lawrence W. Pry, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
A jury found Michael Amaro Texidor guilty of being a felon in possession of a pistol in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (1998). On appeal, he argues the trial court committed reversible error when it refused to suppress the pistol discovered during an unconstitutional search of Texidor's fanny pack. We affirm.
When reviewing the legality of a seizure or search, an appellate court will not reverse the trial court's findings unless clearly erroneous or contrary to law. State v. Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d 840, 843 (Minn. 1992), aff'd, 508 U.S. 366, 113 S. Ct. 2130 (1993). This court will review de novo a trial court's determination of reasonable suspicion as it relates to Terry stops. In re Welfare of G. (NMN) M., 560 N.W.2d 687, 690 (Minn. 1997) (citing Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699, 116 S. Ct. 1657, 1663 (1996)).
Both the federal and state constitutions guarantee an individual the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV; Minn. Const. art I, § 10. Warrantless searches are generally prohibited. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357, 88 S. Ct. 507, 514 (1967). But Terry v. Ohio provides that a police officer can lawfully make a forcible investigative stop of an individual and frisk for weapons on less than traditional probable cause 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." Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968).
Texidor argues the trial court erred when it refused to suppress a handgun discovered by a police officer who searched Texidor's fanny pack after it had been taken from the passenger compartment of a car in which Texidor was riding. We disagree. An officer may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle for weapons if the officer possesses a reasonable belief, based on specific and articulable facts and rational inferences, that leads the officer to suspect a person is dangerous and may gain control of a weapon. Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1049, 103 S. Ct. 3469, 3481 (1983); see also State v. Gilchrist, 299 N.W.2d 913, 918 (Minn. 1980) (concluding, based on Terry rationale, that search of passenger compartment was reasonable where weapon was hidden under seat).
The record reflects: (1) officers lawfully stopped the vehicle because Texidor was allegedly involved in an assault; (2) an officer observed Texidor leaning forward in a furtive manner as if trying to conceal something; (3) Texidor resisted the request to exit the vehicle and claimed he had no identification; (4) the officer knew from experience that the fanny pack he saw partially concealed under the front passenger seat was the type frequently used for carrying weapons; and (5) when the officer picked up the fanny pack, he could feel it was heavy and concluded there was a handgun inside. See Long, 463 U.S. at 1050, 103 S. Ct. at 3481 (holding circumstances justified search where officers had reasonable belief that suspect posed danger if permitted to re-enter vehicle and where search was restricted to areas that might contain weapon). Based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer had a reasonable belief, based on specific articulable facts, that Texidor might gain control of a weapon and was justified in searching Texidor's fanny pack for his own safety.