Unpublished Disposition, 918 F.2d 181 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Gregory Arnold GALLENTINE, Defendant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Nov. 9, 1990.* Decided Nov. 16, 1990.
Before EUGENE A. WRIGHT, POOLE and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.
Appellant Gregory Arnold Gallentine appeals his conviction for unarmed bank robbery. Gallentine pleaded guilty following the district court's denial of his motion to suppress statements and physical evidence. On appeal he challenges his conviction on the grounds that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him and search his vehicle. We affirm.
On August 3, 1989 a man robbed the First Interstate Bank at 185th and Sunset, in Hillsboro, Oregon. The robber displayed a note demanding money. He said he had a gun, although no gun was seen. Immediately after the robbery, witnesses telephoned Washington County's central dispatch office. The witnesses described the bank robber as a Hispanic male in his late twenties, about 5'9""', average build, with a black mustache. He was wearing a white sweat shirt with a hood and a dark jacket. The robber entered the passenger side of "an old beater car," white over blue, possibly a Chevrolet. The witnesses reported that they saw one other person in the car, which headed east on Highway 26 toward Portland.
A dispatcher relayed the information to Washington County patrol cars. Washington County Deputy Sheriff Allen Julian heard the description and drove east on Highway 26. He soon saw a white over blue Buick "beater" in the left lane. Julian drove into the lane alongside the Buick and saw that the driver matched the description of the bank robber. A woman and three children were also in the car. After Julian called for and received assistance, the police stopped the Buick and arrested Gallentine.
Probable cause to support a warrantless arrest exists when the facts and circumstances within the arresting officers' knowledge at the time of arrest, and for which they had reasonably trustworthy information, were sufficient to warrant a prudent person in believing that the suspect had committed or was committing an offense. United States v. Pinion, 800 F.2d 976, 979 (9th Cir. 1986).
Here, the arresting officer had numerous specific and articulable facts linking both the defendant and the vehicle to the bank robbery. The mere fact that police found Gallentine on the driver's side rather than in the passenger seat, and that witness accounts did not reveal the three children in the back seat, does not militate against a finding that probable cause existed. We hold that, under these facts, the totality of the circumstances clearly established probable cause for arrest.
Likewise, probable cause justified the search of the defendant and his vehicle. Automobiles may be searched "without prior recourse to the authority of a magistrate so long as the overriding standard of probable cause is met." California v. Carney, 471 U.S. 386, 392 (1985). If probable cause justifies the search of a lawfully stopped vehicle, it also justifies a search of any part of the vehicle and its contents that may conceal the object of that search. United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 825 (1982); United States v. Vasquez, 858 F.2d 1387, 1391 (9th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109 S. Ct. 847, 1161 (1989); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 825 (1982). The warrantless search of a defendant incident to an arrest is similarly lawful. United States v. Baker, 850 F.2d 1365, 1368 (9th Cir. 1988). Finally, where probable cause justifies the stop and search of a vehicle, evidence obtained from that stop and search is admissible. Vasquez, 858 F.2d at 1391. The search was proper in all respects.