490 F.2d 378 (9th Cir. 1974), 73-1656, United States v. Strickler

Docket Nº:73-1656.
Citation:490 F.2d 378
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. James Edward STRICKLER, Appellant.
Case Date:January 11, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 378

490 F.2d 378 (9th Cir. 1974)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


James Edward STRICKLER, Appellant.

No. 73-1656.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

January 11, 1974

Richard H. Levin, Paul A. Turner (argued) Los Angeles, Cal., for appellant.

U.S. Atty. William D. Keller, Eric A. Nobles, Vincent M. Von Der Ahe, Asst. U.S. Attys. (argued) Los Angeles, Cal., for appellee.

Before HUFSTEDLER and GOODWIN, Circuit Judges, and THOMPSON, [*] District Judge.


HUFSTEDLER, Circuit Judge:

Strickler appeals from his conviction for offenses relating to the distribution of cocaine. (21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846; 18 U.S.C. § 2.) We reverse for error in denying Strickler's motion to suppress a hand gun and an inculpatory statement. Evaluation of the two seizures, both of which occurred after

Page 379

three police patrol cars had surrounded Strickler's parked automobile and one officer, with gun drawn, had approached Strickler and ordered him to raise his hands, requires discussion of two issues: (1) Did the police conduct in approaching Strickler's automobile constitute an arrest or was it merely an investigatory detention within the meaning of Terry v. Ohio (1968) 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889, and Adams v. Williams (1972) 407 U.S. 143, 92 S.Ct. 1921, 32 L.Ed.2d 612; (2) before the officers confronted Strickler, were the facts known to them sufficient to justify their detention of him?

In November 1972, undercover state police began negotiating with several of Strickler's codefendants to purchase cocaine. Delivery of the cocaine was eventually set for the morning of December 12, 1972, at the residence of codefendant McDaniel, on Cherrywood Street, south of the intersection of Cherrywood and Rodeo Road.

On December 12, the McDaniel residence was placed under surveillance. Officer Stevens, who was participating in the stakeout at a location approximately 150 yards from the Cherrywood-Rodeo Road intersection, testified that he saw a black-over-tan 1968 Cadillac traveling westbound on Rodeo Road at 2:45 p.m. The vehicle entered the Cherrywood-Rodeo Road intersection, slowed, and pulled over toward the north curb of Rodeo Road. Officer Stevens observed three people in the car, but he could not determine whether they were men or women. During the five or six seconds in which he could see the car, Stevens noticed that the occupants turned their heads in a southwesterly direction, that is, in the direction of the McDaniel residence. Stevens saw no one get into or out of the Cadillac.

Shortly after the car had disappeared from view, Officer Stevens saw a woman, later identified as appellant's wife, Velma Strickler, walking from the intersection area toward the McDaniel residence. Stevens had been informed by one of the police undercover agents that a woman was going to make the cocaine delivery to the McDaniel residence. As he was watching her, Officer Stevens saw a car that appeared to be the Cadillac he had seen moments earlier. The Cadillac drove eastward, in light traffic, through the intersection and continued on out of sight. Stevens then radioed his observations to other mobile units in the area.


To continue reading