985 F.2d 576 (9th Cir. 1993), 91-50250, U.S. v. Rodriguez-Contreras

Docket Nº:91-50250.
Citation:985 F.2d 576
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jose RODRIGUEZ-CONTRERAS, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:February 02, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 576

985 F.2d 576 (9th Cir. 1993)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Jose RODRIGUEZ-CONTRERAS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 91-50250.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 2, 1993

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA9 Rule 36-3 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Argued and Submitted Oct. 10, 1991.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California; No. CR-89-1189-01-R, John S. Rhoades, District Judge, Presiding.

S.D. Cal.


Before FLETCHER, D.W. NELSON and BRUNETTI, Circuit Judges.



Defendant Jose Rodriguez-Contreras (Rodriguez) was convicted for transporting illegal aliens within the United States. He was apprehended after leading Border Patrol Agents on a brief high-speed chase. Rodriguez sought to suppress evidence obtained after the Border Patrol Agents stopped Rodriguez' car. The district court, relying on then Ninth Circuit precedent, held that a stop occurs for Fourth Amendment purposes when police activate their overhead lights and siren. The district court nonetheless concluded that founded suspicion existed at this point and denied Rodriguez' motion to suppress.


We review the district court's factual determinations for clear error. United States v. Hernandez-Alvarado, 891 F.2d 1414, 1416 (9th Cir.1989). Whether founded suspicion existed to justify an investigatory stop is reviewed de novo. Id.

It is well settled that police officers may make an investigatory stop if they are aware of specific, articulable facts which, together with objective and reasonable inferences, lead to a founded suspicion of criminal activity. United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 416-18 (1981); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975). Founded suspicion must be considered under the "totality of the circumstances" and interpreted in light of the trained police officers' experience. Cortez, 449 U.S. at 418.

Rodriguez argues that we must analyze founded suspicion at the point when the Border Patrol Agents activated their overhead lights and siren. He relies on United States v. Morrison, 546 F.2d 319 (9th Cir.1976), in which we held that a stop occurs for Fourth Amendment purposes when police...

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