454 F.3d 1107 (10th Cir. 2006), 05-8097, United States v. Ladeaux

Docket Nº:05-8097.
Citation:454 F.3d 1107
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John F. LADEAUX, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:July 12, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 1107

454 F.3d 1107 (10th Cir. 2006)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


John F. LADEAUX, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 05-8097.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

July 12, 2006

Page 1108

Submitted on the briefs: [*] David M. Gosar, Jackson, WY, for Defendant-Appellant.

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Matthew H. Mead, United States Attorney, L. Robert Murray, Assistant United States Attorney, Cheyenne, WY, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before HARTZ, EBEL and TYMKOVICH, Circuit Judges.

EBEL, Circuit Judge.

In this case, Defendant-Appellant John Ladeaux contends that two requests made of him during a traffic stop--to (1) exit the vehicle and (2) roll up the windows and open the vents--violated his Fourth Amendment rights such that the contraband discovered during the stop must be suppressed. Because the district court did not properly consider the effect of the second request 1 under the burden-shifting scheme set out in United States v. Nava-Ramirez, 210 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir.2000), we remand this case for the district court to address that issue in the first instance.


On February 14, 2002, Ladeaux and two companions, Shawn Richards and Jess Byerley, were traveling on Interstate 80 near Cheyenne, Wyoming in a vehicle driven by Byerley. Wyoming Highway Patrolman Benjamin Peech was positioned along the highway conducting stationary radar enforcement. Peech noticed that Byerley was not wearing a seatbelt. He also observed Byerley's vehicle quickly approach another vehicle that was traveling below the speed limit, close within twenty or twenty-five feet, follow it closely for some distance, and then move into the left lane (without using a turn signal) to pass. These events prompted Peech to pull Byerley's vehicle over. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed that Ladeaux--the back-seat passenger--was attempting to fasten his seatbelt. Peech informed Byerley that he had stopped him for following too close and failing to signal; Peech also cited Byerley and Ladeaux for not wearing a seatbelt. At Peech's request, Byerley accompanied him back to the patrol car so that Peech could issue the citations.

During their conversation in the patrol car, Peech noticed that Byerley seemed "very, very nervous." Peech requested a second trooper, David Chatfield, to respond with a drug sniffing dog. Peech acknowledged that he did not have any reasonable suspicion that narcotics were in the vehicle, but rather that he merely had a "hunch" which prompted him to call in Chatfield.

Chatfield responded quickly, while Peech was still writing the citations. Chatfield ordered Richards and Ladeaux to step out of the vehicle; he also requested that the windows be rolled up and the vents turned on. 2 The dog alerted to the trunk of the vehicle; a search of the trunk and the luggage therein revealed fifteen pounds of marijuana and 1.2 pounds of cocaine. Ladeaux later admitted to his role in the possession of the controlled substances and was indicted on federal drug charges.

Ladeaux filed a motion to suppress all evidence obtained during the traffic stop, which was denied. Ladeaux then entered

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a conditional guilty plea, preserving his right to appeal the denial.


In reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress, we "view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, accept the district court's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous, and review de novo the ultimate determination of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment." United States v. Apperson, 441 F.3d 1162, 1184 (10th Cir.2006) (quotation omitted).

On appeal, Ladeaux does not challenge the validity of the initial stop or the length of the detention. Rather, he argues only that Chatfield exceeded the permissible scope of the stop when he ordered Ladeaux out of the vehicle and requested the windows be rolled up and the vents turned on. We address these issues in turn.


Ladeaux argues that the order to exit the vehicle was unconstitutional because there existed no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that the vehicle contained drugs when the order was given. However, in Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408, 117 S.Ct. 882, 137 L.Ed.2d 41 (1997), the Supreme Court established a bright-line rule that, during a lawful...

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