610 F.3d 1186 (9th Cir. 2010), 08-10301, United States v. Brooks

Docket Nº:08-10301, 08-10437.
Citation:610 F.3d 1186
Opinion Judge:CANBY, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Depaul BROOKS, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Uawndre Larue Fields, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Thomas E. Haney, Phoenix, AZ, for defendant-appellant Brooks. Philip E. Hantel, Phoenix, AZ, for defendant-appellant Fields. Joan G. Ruffennach, Assistant United States Attorney, Phoenix, AZ, for the plaintiff-appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: B. FLETCHER, WILLIAM C. CANBY, JR. and SUSAN P. GRABER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 08, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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610 F.3d 1186 (9th Cir. 2010)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Depaul BROOKS, Defendant-Appellant.

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Uawndre Larue Fields, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 08-10301, 08-10437.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

July 8, 2010

Argued and Submitted Nov. 2, 2009.

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Thomas E. Haney, Phoenix, AZ, for defendant-appellant Brooks.

Philip E. Hantel, Phoenix, AZ, for defendant-appellant Fields.

Joan G. Ruffennach, Assistant United States Attorney, Phoenix, AZ, for the plaintiff-appellee.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, David G. Campbell, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. Nos. 2:07-cr-00411-DGC-2, 2:07-cr-00411-DGC-1.

Before: B. FLETCHER, WILLIAM C. CANBY, JR. and SUSAN P. GRABER, Circuit Judges.

CANBY, Circuit Judge:

Following a jury trial, Depaul Brooks and Uawndre Fields both were found guilty of two counts of child sex trafficking and two counts of interstate transportation of minors for purposes of prostitution. Brooks and Fields now appeal their convictions and sentences on a number of grounds, including challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, the denial of a suppression motion, and a sentencing enhancement. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742. We affirm all of the convictions, but we vacate both sentences and remand the matter to the district court for resentencing.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In late April 2006, sixteen-year-old N.K. and fifteen-year-old R.O. ran away from a residential treatment center in Scottsdale, Arizona. For a brief time, the girls stayed at a hotel with one of R.O.'s friends, who gave them methamphetamine, N.K.'s first experience with the drug. Eventually, the girls left the hotel and met Brooks and Fields, as well as another man known only as " Lee." The girls told the men that they had nowhere to go, and the men brought the girls to a different hotel room that Brooks had rented.

That night, after Fields had left, the girls told Brooks and Lee that they had run away from a juvenile detention center. The men laughed and made jokes about N.K. and R.O. being juvenile delinquents and suggested that the girls go to San

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Diego to work for Fields as prostitutes. The next day, Fields told R.O. that he was a pimp and asked her to work for him. When R.O. asked Fields what N.K. would do, Fields responded that R.O. could ask N.K. to come, too. During these initial conversations, R.O. told both Brooks and Fields that she and N.K. were minors.

The next day, Brooks and Fields introduced the girls to Julia Fonteneaux, a prostitute who described herself as Fields's " main chick." After Fonteneaux explained certain details about prostitution to the girls, Brooks and Fields drove R.O. and N.K. to the bus station, where the men bought the girls bus tickets to San Diego, assigning them false names.

The morning after the girls arrived in San Diego, Brooks, Fields, and Fonteneaux met the girls at the apartment of an associate of Fields, where R.O. and N.K. had slept. Fields took R.O. shopping for sexually provocative clothing and shoes, and then both men brought the girls and Fonteneaux to a motel. At Fields's direction, Fonteneaux posted prostitution ads on craigslist.com for N.K., R.O., and herself, and explained to the girls how to handle customers. Over the next two days, R.O. engaged in two or three acts of prostitution at the hotel. N.K., however, who still was disoriented by the drugs she had taken in Arizona, did not engage in any such acts.

Three days later, Brooks, Fields, Fonteneaux, and the girls traveled back to Phoenix in a rented Ford Freestyle. All of the females were dressed in provocative clothing, and R.O. and Fonteneaux understood the trip's purpose to be prostitution. Upon arriving in Phoenix, the men dropped R.O. and Fonteneaux off near the corner of 51st Avenue and McDowell Road, an area of Phoenix known for prostitution. R.O. engaged in two or three acts of prostitution, but later that night she was taken into custody by the Phoenix police after an officer who observed her on the street determined that she was underage.

After Brooks and Fields left R.O. and Fonteneaux, Brooks rented two rooms for the group at nearby hotels. Fonteneaux called Fields later that night to tell him that R.O. had been picked up by the police. The next day, Fields left N.K. at a bus station with her and R.O.'s belongings, but otherwise penniless.

After being taken into custody, R.O. recounted to the police the previous days' events and described the men involved and their rental vehicle. The following evening, using the information provided by R.O., police officers stopped Brooks and Fields in the Ford Freestyle and held them in custody for several hours. The officers also searched the Ford Freestyle at the local police precinct, discovering receipts for motel rooms and car rental and other incriminating evidence.

A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Brooks, Fields, and Fonteneaux, charging each of them with two counts of child sex trafficking, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a) & 2, and two counts of interstate transportation of minors for purposes of prostitution, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2423(a), (e) & 2. Fonteneaux pleaded guilty and received a reduced sentence in exchange for her testimony against Brooks and Fields.

Prior to trial, Brooks and Fields moved to suppress evidence seized from the Ford Freestyle, as well as the fruits of that evidence, arguing that their detention on the night of April 29, 2006, as well as the accompanying search of their vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment. They also moved to dismiss Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment as multiplicitous of Counts 1 and 2. The district court denied both motions. At trial, the district court also overruled

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Defendants' objections to the introduction of the expert testimony of Phoenix Police Department Detective Christi Hein on the relationship between pimps and prostitutes and the business of prostitution.

A jury found Brooks and Fields guilty on all counts. The district court subsequently denied Defendants' renewed motions for judgment of acquittal. Brooks was sentenced to 97 months in prison for each count, to run concurrently. Fields was sentenced to 198 months in prison for each count, also to run concurrently.

DISCUSSION

Brooks and Fields appeal their convictions and sentences on several grounds. Brooks alone challenges the district court's pre-trial denials of the motions to suppress evidence and to dismiss Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment as multiplicitous of Counts 1 and 2. Both Appellants challenge the district court's decision to admit Detective Hein's expert testimony. Brooks and Fields also both appeal the denial of their motions for judgments of acquittal, although Brooks appeals the denial of the motion as to all counts, while Fields appeals the denial only as to Counts 2 and 4, which related to N.K. Finally, Brooks and Fields challenge their sentences on various grounds.

The Motion to Suppress Properly Was Denied

Brooks first challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress, arguing that his warrantless arrest and the subsequent warrantless search of the Ford Freestyle were illegal. Reviewing de novo the denial of the motion to suppress, United States v. Delgado, 545 F.3d 1195, 1200 (9th Cir.2008), cert. denied, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1383, 173 L.Ed.2d 636 (2009), we reject Brooks's contentions.

Brooks's warrantless arrest was proper because it was supported by probable cause. See United States v. Lopez, 482 F.3d 1067, 1072 (9th Cir.2007). " Probable cause to arrest exists when officers have knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to lead a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been or is being committed by the person being arrested." Id. (citing Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L.Ed.2d 142 (1964)). Here, probable cause was established by the substantial correspondence between the officers' observations at the time of the arrest and the details that R.O. had provided to the police concerning the crime, the individuals involved, their vehicle, and the location where the perpetrators operated. Even if Brooks's name and appearance did not correspond exactly to R.O.'s description of the men involved, " [n]either certainty, nor proof beyond a reasonable doubt, is required for probable cause to arrest." United States v. Harvey, 3 F.3d 1294, 1296 (9th Cir.1993). The considerable similarity between the officers' observations and R.O.'s description was sufficient to lead a person of reasonable caution to conclude that Brooks was one of the men who had brought R.O. and N.K. to and from California for purposes of prostitution, establishing probable cause to arrest him.

The warrantless search of the Ford Freestyle also was proper. Under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, police may conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle if there is probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime. See, e.g., United States v. Albers, 136 F.3d 670, 673-74 (9th Cir.1998). " Probable cause to search is evaluated in light of the totality of the circumstances."

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United States v. Pinela-Hernandez, 262 F.3d 974, 978 (9th Cir.2001). Under the totality of the circumstances in this case, the officers, at the time they stopped the Ford Freestyle, had probable cause to believe that the...

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