685 F.2d 249 (8th Cir. 1982), 81-2272, United States v. Capers

Docket Nº:81-2272.
Citation:685 F.2d 249
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. William CAPERS, Appellant.
Case Date:August 17, 1982
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 249

685 F.2d 249 (8th Cir. 1982)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


William CAPERS, Appellant.

No. 81-2272.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 17, 1982

        Submitted April 15, 1982.

        Lawrence J. Fleming, Clayton, Mo., for appellant.

        Thomas E. Dittmeier, U. S. Atty., Kevin F. O'Malley, Asst. U. S. Atty., St. Louis, Mo., for appellee.

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        Before BRIGHT and HENLEY, [*] Circuit Judges, and BARTLETT, [**] District Judge.

        PER CURIAM.

        William Capers appeals his conviction for conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 846 and for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a) (1). Capers contends that he was illegally detained and that the District Court 1 should therefore have granted his motion to suppress evidence and statements obtained from him. Also, Capers asserts that his statements should have been suppressed because he was not read his Miranda rights, his confession was not voluntary, and he was refused an opportunity to consult with counsel. 2


        Capers was arrested in Normandy, Missouri, on August 19, 1981, while in the company of Nathaniel Yancy. Yancy had been under investigation by officers of the St. Louis County Police Department because of suspected narcotics violations. On the day before the arrest the police learned that during the previous 48 hours Yancy had offered to sell cocaine to a confidential informant and that the informant had observed cocaine and related paraphernalia in a house Yancy used as a residence. The police obtained a search warrant for the house on August 19, 1981.

        The officers went to the house about 2:45 p. m. on August 19, 1981, and were admitted by Yancy's former wife. She told the police that although she and Yancy were divorced he slept in a basement bedroom. The preceding night she had gone to the basement and someone other than Yancy was sleeping in the basement bedroom. Mrs. Yancy did not know the visitor's name, but she told the police that this person was out with Yancy at that time.

        At the bottom of the basement stairs was a bar area. Plainly visible on the top of the bar was a triple beam balance scale, a Cocaine Consumer's Handbook, a bottle of Mannitol and a bottle of Inositol. Mannitol and Inosital are dilutants for controlled substances. There was a white powdery substance on top of the scale and on top of the foam padding on the bar. The police also found two hand strainers with a white powdery residue on them in the bar area. On searching the adjacent basement bedroom the police found a green suitcase containing one large baggie of white powder and five smaller baggies of white powder. A loaded Star brand 9 mm. automatic pistol was also found in the bedroom. During the search the telephone rang several times; the callers requested either "Yancy" or "Yates."

        Approximately 45 minutes after the search had begun the police saw a car with two occupants pull into the driveway and park. Yancy was sitting in the passenger seat, but the police did not recognize the driver of the car, later identified as Capers. When Capers and Yancy came in the door they were ordered to put their hands against the wall. The subsequent search of Capers produced one and one-half marijuana cigarettes and $2,052 in cash. Yancy was carrying a paper bag in which the police found a bottle of liquor and a bag of

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rice containing a plastic baggie of white powder. Officer Murphy testified that he read Capers his Miranda rights, handcuffed him, and took him to a room in the basement for questioning. Capers admitted, among other things, that he used the name Yates and that he and Yancy had been making deliveries of cocaine. Capers denies being advised of his Miranda rights. He alleges that he requested an opportunity to talk to an attorney and that his statements were not voluntary.

Validity of the Arrest and Search

        Capers argues that the District Court erred in not granting his motion to suppress both the money discovered during the search and his subsequent statements because he was illegally detained and searched. The United States contends that the cumulative effect of all the facts and circumstances within the personal knowledge of the officers was sufficient to provide probable cause to arrest.

        Whether probable cause exists to make a warrantless arrest 3 depends upon:

"whether, at the moment the arrest was made, ... the facts and circumstances within (the arresting officer's) knowledge and of which they had reasonable trustworthy...

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