STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Ronald Scott Camp,
Filed September 21, 1999
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K6-97-3859
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, Andrea R. Rogers, Certified Student Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Richard J. Coleman, 295 Marie Avenue East, West St. Paul, MN 55118; and
Nicholas P. Slade, 2124 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
Appellant Ronald Camp appeals his conviction of possession of a controlled substance in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 2(1) (1996). He contends the trial court erred in concluding: (1) the police had a reasonable, articulable suspicion to support stopping him; (2) the detention did not exceed the scope of an investigative stop; and (3) there was probable cause to search his vehicle. Because we find no violation of Camp's constitutional rights, we affirm.
On December 1, 1997, Ramsey County Deputy Michael Hankee briefly participated in the surveillance of 169 Mount Airy and observed one 5- to 10-minute controlled buy, as well as what he described at the omnibus hearing as drug traffic.
At 2:45 p.m. on December 2, 1997, the police prepared to execute the search warrant. At about 2:57 p.m., one of the officers conducting surveillance saw appellant Ronald Camp enter 169 Mount Airy. About five or six minutes after 3:00 p.m., the officer saw Camp exit the house and get into a black truck. The police decided to stop the vehicle because they believed Camp had either purchased or sold drugs.
Approximately one mile from the residence, a marked squad car stopped Camp's truck on the highway and parked behind it. Hankee arrived shortly after Camp was stopped. He and another officer approached Camp's vehicle. At some point, a third officer arrived at the scene. One of the officers, other than Hankee, may have drawn his gun. Hankee asked Camp to step out of the truck and, because they were on the freeway, escorted him to the back of the truck. Hankee then conducted a brief pat-down search for weapons but did not find anything. Hankee explained he conducted the search because in his experience, weapons were commonly carried by people involved in the drug trade. Hankee then told Camp he had been stopped because the police were in the process of executing a search warrant for drugs at 169 Mount Airy. Hankee asked Camp if he had any drugs on him or in the vehicle. Camp responded, "Yes, I do have some drugs." Hankee then asked Camp what kind of drugs he had and where they were located. Camp told him that there was one-half an ounce of cocaine on the front seat of his truck. Hankee retrieved the cocaine from the truck and asked Camp where he got it. Camp then indicated he wanted to speak with an attorney. Hankee arrested Camp, handcuffed him, and placed him in the back of the squad car.
Camp brought a motion challenging the constitutionality of the stop, inquiry, and search. At an omnibus hearing on these issues, the trial court determined the police had specific and articulable facts to make an investigatory stop, and the stop did not implicate the requirement of a Miranda warning. The court also found Hankee acted within his authority in searching Camp's truck and arresting him.
Camp was tried and convicted of second-degree possession of cocaine in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 2(1) (1996). This appeal followed.
Camp argues his constitutional right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure was violated when the police stopped his truck based solely on his entry into and exit from a residence where the police were preparing to execute a search warrant based on drug-trafficking. See U.S. Const. amend. IV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10. He contends the police lacked a particularized and objective basis for stopping his vehicle.
When reviewing search and seizure issues, this court accepts the trial court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, but independently applies the law to the facts. See Berge v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 730, 732 (Minn. 1985).
Under the Fourth Amendment, warrantless searches "are per se unreasonable," subject to "a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions." State v. Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d 840, 843 (Minn. 1992) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357, 88 S. Ct. 507, 514 (1967)). One such exception is set out in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868 (1968). Terry held a police officer may temporarily seize a person to investigate suspected criminal wrongdoing if the officer has an objective, individualized, articulable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing by that person. 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S. Ct. at 1884; see Ascher v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 519 N.W.2d 183, 184 (Minn. 1994) (discussing Terry). The officer's determination is made on the basis of "all of the circumstances," Berge, 374 N.W.2d at 732 (quoting United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 418, 101 S. Ct. 690, 695 (1981)), and "in light of his or her experience." In re Welfare of G.M., 560 N.W.2d 687, 691 (Minn. 1997).
Contrary to Camp's contentions, he was not stopped simply because he was in the vicinity of a known crack-house, see Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d at 843 (stating merely being in a high-crime area will not justify a stop), and the officers' suspicion was not based merely on the actions of the residents of 169 Mount Airy. See State v. Ingram, 570 N.W.2d 173, 177 (Minn. App. 1997) (holding "merely * * * being in close proximity with others suspected of criminal activity, without more, may be * * * insufficient to reach the threshold of reasonable articulable suspicion"), review denied (Minn. Dec. 22, 1997).
Although it is conceivable that Camp entered 169 Mount Airy for non-criminal purposes, that is not the test for determining the constitutionality of a Terry stop. The test is whether the officer is able to articulate a "particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular persons stopped of criminal activity." Berge, 374 N.W.2d at 732 (quoting Cortez, 449 U.S. at 417-18, 101 S. Ct. at 694-95) (emphasis omitted). The officer makes his determination in light of "all of the circumstances" and the inferences and deductions he arrives at based on his experience. Id. (quoting Cortez, 449 U.S. at 418, 101 S. Ct. at 695).
In this case, the officer testified he had observed one controlled drug buy at the house and it had taken approximately five to ten minutes. He also testified that based on his ten years of experience as a narcotics agent, indoor drug buys take between five to ten minutes. This was the same period of time Camp was in the residence. Accordingly, Camp's conduct, arriving and departing from 169 Mount Airy within the time frame of a typical drug sale, immediately prior to the execution of a search warrant for drug trafficking at the residence, creates an objective, articulable suspicion that Camp participated in a drug transaction.
2. Scope of detention
Camp next argues that even if this court finds the police officer's detention of him was constitutional, the detention exceeded the scope of an investigatory stop and became an "arrest" requiring a Miranda warning. The trial court held the stop "did not implicate the Miranda warning." We agree.
The test to determine whether an individual is in custody and entitled to a Miranda warning is whether a reasonable person in the place of the detainee would believe that he or she was in custody. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 442, 104 S. Ct. 3138, 3151 (1984). The fact the individual has been restrained is only a starting point for courts to determine whether the detainee is in custody; they must then "examine all of the surrounding facts to determine whether there is a formal arrest or a restraints comparable to those associated with a formal arrest." State v. Rosse, 478 N.W.2d 482, 484 (Minn. 1991) (citing Berkemer, 468 U.S. at 441, 104 S. Ct. at 3151). Thus, under the Supreme Court's analysis, a person is "in custody" for purposes of Miranda if restrained to a "degree associated with a formal arrest," and if the person's belief that he or she is in custody is objectively reasonable. Rosse, 478 N.W.2d at 484.
Upon reviewing the totality of the circumstances in the present case, we conclude Camp was not seized to the degree associated with a formal arrest. Camp was not handcuffed. He was not placed on the ground, and he was not placed in the back of the squad car. Moreover, he was detained only long enough for Hankee to confirm or dispel his suspicions that Camp had purchased cocaine at 169 Mount Airy. There was no evidence of an unnecessary delay, and the detention occurred in public on the side of the highway. Although one of the officers may have drawn a gun, we accept the trial court's factual determination that the gun was not drawn by the officer who initially approached and questioned Camp. See Berge, 374 N.W.2d at 732 (stating the reviewing court accepts the trial court's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous). Accordingly, we conclude Camp was not in custody for purposes of receiving a Miranda warning.
3. Probable cause to search vehicle
Finally, Camp contends the officers lacked probable cause to search his truck because he was not provided a Miranda warning prior to telling Hankee that he had purchased cocaine at 169 Mount Airy and the cocaine was in his truck. Because we conclude the detention did not exceed the scope of an investigatory stop, a Miranda warning was not necessary. Camp's statements were, therefore, voluntary and sufficient to generate probable cause supporting Hankee's search of the truck incident to Camp's arrest.