226 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2000), 99-56720, Mena v. City of Simi Valley

Docket Nº:99-56720
Citation:226 F.3d 1031
Party Name:IRIS MENA; JOSE E. MENA, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. CITY OF SIMI VALLEY, Defendant, and RANDY G. ADAMS; DARIN L. MUEHLER; ROBERT BRILL; MARVIN HODGES; ROY JONES; VINCENT ALLEGRA; ALAN MCCORD; RICHARD THOMAS; RONALD CHAMBERS; WILLIAM LAPPIN; ARNOLD BAYNARD; JEFFREY DOMINICK; JACK GREENBURG; RICHARD LAMB; FRANK AHLVERS; JOHN ADAMCZYK; TIM BROWN, Defend
Case Date:September 22, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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226 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2000)

IRIS MENA; JOSE E. MENA, Plaintiffs-Appellees,

v.

CITY OF SIMI VALLEY, Defendant, and RANDY G. ADAMS; DARIN L. MUEHLER; ROBERT BRILL; MARVIN HODGES; ROY JONES; VINCENT ALLEGRA; ALAN MCCORD; RICHARD THOMAS; RONALD CHAMBERS; WILLIAM LAPPIN; ARNOLD BAYNARD; JEFFREY DOMINICK; JACK GREENBURG; RICHARD LAMB; FRANK AHLVERS; JOHN ADAMCZYK; TIM BROWN, DefendantsAppellants.

No. 99-56720

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 22, 2000

Argued and Submitted August 11, 2000--Pasadena, California

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL: Karen K. Peabody, Carrington & Nye, Santa Barbara, California, for the defendants-appellants.

James S. Muller, Los Angeles, California, for the plaintiffsappellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California;

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  1. Howard Matz, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. CV-98-08512-AHM

Before: John T. Noonan, Stephen S. Trott, and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

TROTT, Circuit Judge:

City of Simi Valley Police Chief Randy G. Adams and several police officers (collectively "Defendants") appeal the district court's denial of their motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Defendants argue that the district court erred by failing to determine whether, under the clearly established law, the officers reasonably could have believed their conduct in obtaining and executing a search warrant for the residence of Jose and Iris Mena (collectively "Plaintiffs") and in detaining Iris Mena was lawful. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 1291 and, we AFFIRM in part, REVERSE in part, and REMAND to the district court.

I

BACKGROUND

On January 13, 1998, Officers Darin L. Muehler ("Muehler") and Robert Brill ("Brill") of the Simi Valley Police Department ("SVPD") responded to and began investigating a gang-related drive-by shooting in Simi Valley. During their investigation, Officers Muehler and Brill learned that their primary suspect, Raymond Romero, was in possession of a .25 caliber handgun used in the shooting.

In addition, Raymond's brother, Anthony, told Officers Muehler and Brill that Raymond Romero lived on Patricia Avenue in a "poor house," which Anthony explained was "a residence with a large number of subjects residing in a residence designed for one family." Anthony told the officers also that Raymond Romero's friend (and fellow gang member), Genaro Gonzales ("Gonzales"), had lived at the house on Patricia Avenue, but that he believed Gonzales had moved to Mexico. Anthony explained that his brother kept some of his personal property at their mother's house because "Raymond believes these items would be stolen at the Patricia Avenue location." Finally, Anthony gave the officers his brother's phone number, which was 522-9437.

Subsequently, Officer Muehler had a police dispatcher call Raymond Romero's phone number and pretend there was a problem with the "911" system on Patricia Avenue. The dispatcher asked the man who answered the phone to verify the address from which he was answering. In response, the man stated that the address was 1363 Patricia Avenue. The dispatcher then asked the man to hang up the phone and dial "911," which he did. The incoming phone number was 5229437, which was listed to Genaro Gonzales. When the dispatcher asked the man if he was Gonzales, he said "No. A friend," and then he said that his name was Raymond. Based on this telephone call and the information learned from Anthony Romero, the officers concluded that Raymond Romero resided at 1363 Patricia Avenue, Simi Valley, California.

The house located at 1363 Patricia Avenue, which Anthony Romero described as a "poor house," was owned by Plaintiff Jose Mena. Although Jose Mena lived at the Patricia Avenue residence only part-time, his daughter, Iris, was a full-time resident. In addition, several other unrelated boarders lived in the Menas' home, renting rooms in the house, space in the garage, and motorhouses and vans parked in the backyard. Notably, Officers Muehler and Brill both had been to the Mena residence on police business on at least two prior occasions.

On January 29, 1998, Officer Muehler executed an affidavit in support of a warrant to search the Mena house for, inter alia, "[d]eadly weapons, specifically firearms including ammunition, casings, holsters and cleaning equipment, knives and accessories such as sheaves; [and] evidence of street gang membership or affiliation with any street gang . . .." In describing the Mena house, Muehler stated in the affidavit that Anthony Romero had

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explained that it was a "poor house," meaning "a residence with a large number of subjects residing in a residence designed for one family. " However, Officer Muehler's affidavit did not explain that he had been to the Mena residence before, or that he had observed that all of the doors adjacent to the living room were shut and that some of them had padlocks on them.

Based on Officer Muehler's affidavit, a magistrate judge issued a search warrant for Mena's residence.1 In particular, the warrant authorized the search of:

1363 Patricia Avenue, City of Simi Valley, County of Ventura, State of California, which is further described as a single story, single family dwelling, . . . with an attached garage . . . . To include all rooms, attics, basements, closets, storage areas, attached garages, and other parts therein; and the surrounding grounds and any storage sheds, detached garages, or out buildings of any kind located thereon, any safes or locked boxes therein. Any vehicles that are registered to or belonging to occupants of the residence and that are on or adjacent to the property.

Additionally, the warrant authorized the search of the person of Raymond Joseph Romero.

At approximately 7:00 a.m. on February 3, 1998, several officers from the SVPD, including Muehler and Brill, along with a SWAT team, executed the search warrant on Mena's residence. Defendants claim that, before entering the house, they complied with the knock and announce requirement. Specifically, Defendants declare that they (1) "pounded" on the front door, (2) yelled in both English and Spanish that they were from the SVPD, had a warrant, and intended to enter, (3) waited for approximately thirty seconds, and (4) entered the house after receiving no response. Iris Mena2 says, on the other hand, that the officers failed to comply with the knock and announce requirement. She bases this claim on her assertion that, although she was sleeping in the bedroom closest to the front door, she was not awakened by the alleged knock and announce. In any event, the officers used a battering ram to force entry into the Mena home.

After entering the house, the officers observed that some of the rooms were locked, many with padlocks on the outside of the doors. Nevertheless, the officers proceeded to force entry into these locked rooms, including the bedroom in which Iris Mena was sleeping. The officers found Iris Mena in bed, forcibly turned her over, handcuffed her, and detained her in the bedroom until the residence was cleared and secured by the entry team. Once the house was secure, the members of the SWAT team left the premises, and the remaining officers searched the residence.

At that point, Iris Mena and the other residents at 1363 Patricia Avenue were taken to the garage where they were detained, in handcuffs, for approximately two to three hours.3 During this time, the police refused to inform Iris Mena and the others why they were being detained. Moreover, the police contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), and INS officers arrived at the scene during the search and interrogated the detained residents, including Iris Mena. Finally, when the officers completed

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their search, they took Iris Mena back into...

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