SLC v. Archibald

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SLC v. Archibald Case No. 20001079-CA

IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

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Salt Lake City,
Plaintiff and Appellee,

v.

Jonathan Lamar Archibald,
Defendant and Appellant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20001079-CA

F I L E D
(December 6, 2001)

2001 UT App 375

 

 

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Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Robin W. Reese

Attorneys:
Shannon N. Romero, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Scott Fisher, Salt Lake City, for Appellee

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Before Judges Jackson, Billings, and Thorne.

THORNE, Judge:

Appellant Jonathan Lamar Archibald appeals his conviction for Concealing Identification, a class C misdemeanor, in violation of Salt Lake City Code ' 11.04.100 (1996). We affirm.

Archibald argues (1) that he was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (2) that the officers lacked reasonable, articulable suspicion to approach him.

Courts have long acknowledged that three levels of constitutionally permissible encounters exist between police officers and citizens:

"'(1) an officer may approach a citizen at anytime [sic] and pose questions so long as the citizen is not detained against his will; (2) an officer may seize a person if the officer has an 'articulable suspicion' that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime; however, the 'detention must be temporary and last no longer than is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop;' (3) an officer may arrest a suspect if the officer has probable cause to believe an offense has been committed or is being committed.'"

 

State v. Ray, 2000 UT App 55,&10, 998 P.2d 274 (quoting State v. Dietman, 739 P.2d 616, 617-18 (Utah 1987) (per curium) (citations omitted)) (alteration in original). "A level one encounter 'is a voluntary encounter where a citizen may respond to an officer's inquiries but is free to leave at any time.'" Id. at &11 (quoting State v. Jackson, 805 P.2d 765, 767 (Utah Ct. App. 1990)). A voluntary encounter escalates to a level two encounter only when "a reasonable person, in view of all the circumstances, would believe he or she is not free to leave." State v. Jackson, 805 P.2d 765, 767 (Utah Ct. App. 1990) (quoting United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554, 100 S. Ct. 1870, 1877 (1980)). "As long as the person 'remains free to disregard the questions and walk away, there has been no intrusion upon that person's liberty or privacy . . . .'" Id.

In this instance, we conclude that Archibald's encounter with the police, up to the moment he gave them reason to place him under arrest, was clearly voluntary. The police officers knocked on Archibald's hotel room door in response to a complaint made by a hotel guest. Archibald looked out the window but did not answer the door. After seeing Archibald look out, the officers continued to knock for approximately 45 seconds presenting Archibald with a number of options, any one of which he could have chosen. Archibald, however, chose to open the door and respond to the officer's questions.

Under these circumstances, we can see no possible interpretation of the facts that would cause a reasonable person to feel they were not free to ignore the officers. See Ray, 2000 UT App 55 at &11. Therefore, Archibald was "free to disregard the questions" and terminate the encounter. Jackson, 805 P.2d at 767.

We conclude that Archibald's encounter with the officers was voluntary and did not amount to a seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment because he was free to disregard the officer's questions and close the door. Moreover, because we conclude that no seizure took place, we need not consider whether the officers had reasonable articulable suspicion to approach Archibald. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's order denying

Archibald's motion to suppress and his subsequent conviction for concealing identification.

 

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William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge

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WE CONCUR:

 

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Norman H. Jackson, Associate Presiding Judge

 

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Judith M. Billings, Judge