This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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




State of Minnesota,



Karl George Granse,


Filed July 1, 1997


Schultz, Judge


Dakota County District Court

File No. K396839

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)

James Sheldon, Apple Valley City Attorney, Sharon K. Hills, Assistant City Attorney, Severson, Sheldon, Dougherty & Molenda, P.A., 7300 West 147th Street, Suite 600, Apple Valley, MN 55124 (for respondent)

Timothy S. Choal, 8 East Fourth Street, Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge and Schultz, Judge.



Karl Granse appeals from his conviction for misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor driving-related offenses. We affirm.


On January 8, 1996, police officer Michael Backus observed a vehicle bearing homemade license plates in the parking lot of an Apple Valley bar. Backus stopped the vehicle when appellant Karl Granse got in and began to drive away. The officer advised Granse that he was citing him for driving an unregistered vehicle and asked for proof of insurance. Granse responded that he was "self-insured" and did not need to carry proof of insurance. A subsequent check of Granse's driving record revealed that Granse's driving privileges had been suspended in 1986 and not reinstated. The homemade plates were impounded, and police recovered an additional set of homemade plates from the trunk of the car during an inventory search.

Granse was charged with violating Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 3 (1996), driving after cancellation; Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 5, driving after cancellation--inimical to public safety; Minn. Stat. § 169.791 (1996), no proof of insurance; and Minn. Stat. § 168.09 (1996), operating an unregistered motor vehicle. Granse was convicted of all charges following a bench trial, although his misdemeanor driving after cancellation conviction was dismissed on the state's motion. This appeal followed.


On appeal, Granse challenges the validity of the investigatory stop of his car. Our review of the district court proceedings indicates that Granse did not raise this issue below. Generally, reviewing courts may only consider "`those issues that the record shows were presented and considered by the trial court.'" Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (quoting Thayer v. American Fin. Advisers, Inc., 322 N.W.2d 599, 604 (Minn. 1982)); see also State v. Roby, 463 N.W.2d 506, 508 (Minn. 1990) (appellate courts do not "`decide issues which are not first addressed by the trial court and are raised for the first time on appeal'") (quoting State v. Sorenson, 441 N.W.2d 455, 457 (Minn. 1989)). Although Granse failed to raise the validity of the stop to the district court, we will address the merits of his argument in the interests of judicial economy. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.04 (appellate court may review any order involving the merits or affecting judgment or any other matter as the interests of justice may require); Midway Nat'l Bank v. Estate of Bollmeier, 504 N.W.2d 59, 64 (Minn. App. 1993) (reviewing court may consider issues in the interests of judicial economy and to avoid further delay in the resolution of the case).

Granse argues that the investigatory stop was unlawful because the police officer had no reasonable basis for the stop and because the officer failed to "attempt to verify" the registration plates before stopping him.

To stop a car to check the driver's license or the vehicle's registration, the police officer must have an

articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or an occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of law.

Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663, 99 S. Ct. 1391, 1401 (1979). A brief investigatory stop requires only reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, not probable cause. State v. Pike, 551 N.W.2d 919, 921 (Minn. 1996) (citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21-22, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968)). The police must show that the stop was not "the product of mere whim, caprice or idle curiosity, but was based on `specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.'" Id. at 921-22 (quoting Terry, 392 U.S. at 21, 88 S. Ct. at 1880). The totality of the circumstances surrounding the stop must be considered and the required threshold is very low. State v. Claussen, 353 N.W.2d 688, 690 (Minn. App. 1984).

Backus, an experienced police officer, testified that: (1) he saw the vehicle with homemade plates; (2) because the vehicle had homemade plates, it was not properly registered; and (3) he knew from previous checks that Karl Granse's driving privileges were revoked or cancelled. Although Granse argues that the plates are indistinguishable from validly-issued "vanity" plates and could not have provided a basis for the stop, this argument is unsupported by the evidence. His belief that the homemade plates should have been "verified" prior to the stop is unsupported by the law. See Prouse, 440 U.S. at 663, 99 S. Ct. at 1401 (articulable and reasonable suspicion required for investigatory stop); Pike, 551 N.W.2d at 921 (brief investigatory stop requires only reasonable suspicion of criminal activity). Because the record demonstrates that the police officer articulated a "reasonable suspicion" for the stop, we affirm Granse's conviction.


[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.