State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Ryan Ronald Thoe, Appellant.Annotate this Case
This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480 A. 08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALSA06-1168
State of Minnesota,
Ryan Ronald Thoe,
Filed August 14, 2007
Dodge County District Court
File No. CR-05-337
Tedman J. Heim, Arendt & Heim Law Office, 3169 Wellner Drive Northeast, Suite C, Rochester, MN 55906 (for appellant)
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, John B. Galus, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Paul Kiltinen, Dodge County Attorney, Dodge County Courthouse, Department 91, 22 Sixth Street East, Mantorville, MN 55955 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Wright, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
In this appeal from a conviction of first-degree driving while impaired, appellant argues that the deputy did not have reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle that appellant was driving. We affirm.FACTS
At approximately 3:45 a.m. on March 26, 2005, Deputy Mark Dyshawe was dispatched to a home in Dodge Center in response to a 911 hang-up call and possible domestic assault. Before the telephone disconnected, the dispatcher heard a man's voice telling the caller to "hang up." The dispatcher attempted to call back the number several times and received no answer. As Deputy Dyshawe approached the residence, he saw a vehicle leaving the street where the home was located. Deputy Dyshawe suspected that the driver may have been linked to the 911 hang-up call because it was almost 4:00 a.m., there was no other traffic on the road, and, based on his experience, "during domestic situations one of the parties usually flees the scene when . . . the police [are] called."
When he checked the vehicle's license-plate number, Deputy Dyshawe determined that the vehicle was registered to a resident of the address from which the 911 call originated. Deputy Dyshawe activated his emergency lights and stopped the vehicle to investigate the possible domestic assault at the residence. Appellant Ryan Thoe identified himself and acknowledged that he was coming from his home where a 911 call was made during an argument. Deputy Dyshawe observed that Thoe's eyes were bloodshot and watery, and he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Thoe's breath. Deputy Dyshawe administered field sobriety tests, which Thoe failed to complete according to the directions. Following a preliminary breath test that registered an alcohol concentration over the legal limit, Thoe was arrested and subsequently charged with first-degree driving while impaired (DWI), a violation of Minn. Stat. §169 A. 20, subd. 1(1) (2004).
Thoe moved to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the investigatory stop on the basis that Deputy Dyshawe did not have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Thoe was involved in criminal activity when Deputy Dyshawe initiated the stop. The district court denied the motion, and Thoe was convicted of the charged offense. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Thoe argues that the district court erred when it denied the motion to suppress evidence of his intoxication because Deputy Dyshawe stopped Thoe's vehicle without a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Thoe was involved in criminal activity. When the facts are undisputed, a district court's determination of reasonable, articulable suspicion as it relates to an investigatory stop under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868 (1968), is reviewed de novo. State v. Waddell, 655 N.W.2d 803, 809 (Minn. 2003).
The United States and Minnesota constitutions bar the warrantless seizure of a person except under limited exceptions. U.S. Const. Amend. IV; Minn. Const. art I, § 10. One such exception permits an officer to conduct a brief investigatory stop if, at the time of the stop, there are specific and articulable facts and inferences that support a reasonable, particularized, and objective basis for the officer to suspect that the person stopped is involved in criminal activity. Waddell, 655 N.W.2d at 809; State v. Britton, 604 N.W.2d 84, 87 (Minn. 2000). We review "the events surrounding the stop and consider the totality of the circumstances" to determine whether an investigative stop was based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion. Britton, 604 N.W.2d at 87.
To meet the standard of reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity, the state must prove "that the stop was not the product of mere whim, caprice, or idle curiosity." Waddell, 655 N.W.2d at 809 (quotation omitted). An officer can rely on his or her training and experience to draw inferences that would otherwise escape an untrained individual, State v. Cripps, 533 N.W.2d 388, 391 (Minn. 1995), but lead the officer to suspect that the individual has engaged in criminal activity, State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 99 (Minn. 1999). See also State v. Moffatt, 450 N.W.2d 116, 119 (Minn. 1990) (citing Appelgate v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 402 N.W.2d 106 (Minn. 1987), for justification of "freeze the situation" stop of only car in area moments after report of burglary). Moreover, the factual basis for stopping a vehicle may arise from information supplied by someone other than the arresting officer. Marben v. State, Dep't of Pub. Safety, 294 N.W.2d 697, 699 (Minn. 1980); see Rancour v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety,355 N.W.2d 462, 464 (Minn. App. 1984) (holding that radio messages regarding defendant's erratic driving, combined with arresting officer's independent observation, was sufficient cause for investigatory stop).
Thoe argues that Deputy Dyshawe stopped him based on a "mere hunch" that Thoe was fleeing a domestic assault. We disagree. The record establishes that Deputy Dyshawe had an objective, factual basis for stopping Thoe's vehicle, founded on information supplied by both the dispatcher and Thoe's independent observations. After hearing a man's voice telling the 911-caller to "hang up," the dispatcher called back the residence several times and received no answer. When Deputy Dyshawe observed a vehicle leaving the street where the 911 call originated, he suspected that the driver was linked to the call based on three factors: (1) the time of day, (2) the absence of other vehicles on the road, and (3) knowledge gained from his professional experience that one party typically flees the scene of a domestic assault after the police have been contacted. Only after determining, based on the license-plate number, that the vehicle was registered to a resident of the home where the 911 call originated did Deputy Dyshawe activate his emergency lights and initiate an investigatory stop. The totality of these facts and circumstances, including Deputy Dyshawe's inferences based on his professional training and experience, establishes that the investigatory stop was supported by reasonable, articulable suspicion.
Accordingly, the district court properly denied the motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the traffic stop.