Brown v. State, No. 96-196

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore TAYLOR; LEHMAN
Citation944 P.2d 1168
PartiesTerrice Darrell BROWN, Appellant (Defendant), v. The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).
Docket NumberNo. 96-196
Decision Date19 September 1997

Page 1168

944 P.2d 1168
Terrice Darrell BROWN, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).
No. 96-196.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Sept. 19, 1997.

Page 1169

Sylvia Lee Hackl, State Public Defender; Donna D. Domonkos, Asst. Appellate Counsel; and Scott Klosterman (argued), Student Intern, for Appellant.

William U. Hill, Attorney General; Paul S. Rehurek, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Hugh Kenny (argued), Senior Assistant Attorney General, for Appellee.

Before TAYLOR, C.J., and THOMAS, MACY, GOLDEN and LEHMAN, JJ.

LEHMAN, Justice.

Having entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of robbery pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11(a)(2), Terrice Brown appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress.

We affirm.

Brown states the following issues:

I. Was the arrest of Appellant unlawful because it was made without a warrant and without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 4 of the Wyoming Constitution?

Page 1170

II. Did District Court err by denying Appellant's motion to suppress all evidence obtained after his arrest because the evidence was the product of an unlawful arrest?

The State rephrases the issues:

1. Was Appellant lawfully arrested for a violation of Wyo. Stat. § 6-5-204(a), interference with a police officer?

2. Did the District Court abuse its discretion by denying Appellant's Motion to Suppress Evidence?

FACTS

At approximately 2:50 a.m., Deputy Brett Stokes observed a car drifting across the center line as it traveled east on Interstate 80 near Rock Springs. Stokes followed the car for about two miles observing it drift from side to side. He stopped the car after he observed its tire brush the center divider as it exited off the interstate. Stokes testified that, given the early morning hour and the erratic driving, he suspected a DUI when he pulled the car over.

About an hour prior to this stop, Stokes had heard a radio transmission which described two black males with a sawed-off shotgun as suspects in a robbery occurring at a 7-Eleven in Rock Springs. As Stokes approached the car, he became wary because he could not see anyone in the vehicle. As he walked into view of the front seat, he saw two black males slouched down so that their heads were not visible over the top of the car seats. Stokes stopped his approach, returned to his vehicle and called for backup.

At least four police cars responded to Stokes' request for backup. With guns drawn, the police ordered the driver, appellant Brown, and the passenger, Tyrone Jackson, out of the car and onto their knees, whereupon the police cuffed them and placed them into separate cars. In response to a request for identification, Brown falsely stated his name was Glenn Crockett. As validation for that identity, Brown advised that he had been at a party and provided to police the phone number at the party address. However, when the police called the party, they were told that Glenn Crockett was still present at the house. They were informed that Tyrone Jackson had left the party with Terrice Brown thirty minutes earlier.

Once Brown admitted his identity, a check revealed that neither Brown nor Jackson had a valid driver's license. Stokes informed Brown he was under arrest for interference with a police officer for providing a false identity, and the Rock Springs police took Brown to the city jail. During the booking process, police discovered in Brown's sock a marked two dollar bill from the 7-Eleven robbery. Brown was then charged with aggravated robbery.

Brown filed a motion to suppress and/or dismiss, requesting suppression of all tangible and intangible evidence acquired after the police ordered him out of the car at gunpoint, asserting the evidence was the product of an unlawful arrest. The district court found the arrest lawful and denied Brown's motion following a hearing. Brown subsequently entered a conditional plea of guilty to one count of robbery, in violation W.S. 6-2-401(a)(ii), reserving his right to appeal the court's adverse ruling on his motion to suppress. This timely appeal follows.

DISCUSSION

Standard of Review

Generally, we do not disturb a trial court's evidentiary rulings unless the court has clearly abused its discretion. Medrano v. State, 914 P.2d 804, 807 (Wyo.1996); Wilson v. State, 874 P.2d 215, 218 (Wyo.1994). Judicial discretion is a composite of many things, among which are conclusions drawn from objective criteria; it means a sound judgment exercised with regard to what is right under the circumstances and without doing so arbitrarily or capriciously. Martin v. State, 720 P.2d 894, 897 (Wyo.1986). We give deference to the trial court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, recognizing that court has had the opportunity to assess the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence and make the necessary inferences, deductions and conclusions. Jones v. State, 902 P.2d 686, 690 (Wyo.1995) (citing Wilson v. State, 874 P.2d at 218). The issue of law, whether an unreasonable search or seizure

Page 1171

occurred in violation of constitutional rights, we review de novo. Wilson, at 218.

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32 practice notes
  • Ryan v. State, No. 98-279.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 8, 1999
    ...to the trial court's determination of the admissibility of evidence unless that court clearly abused its discretion. Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1170 (Wyo.1997); Wilson v. State, 874 P.2d 215, 218 (Wyo. 1994). In determining whether the trial court abused its discretion, the query is whe......
  • McChesney v. State, No. 97-63.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 20, 1999
    ...whether an unreasonable search or seizure has occurred in violation of constitutional rights, is reviewed de novo. Id.; Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1170-71 (Wyo. DISCUSSION In determining whether encounters between police and citizens are constitutionally valid, we have classified these ......
  • Vasquez v. State, No. 97-140.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 16, 1999
    ..."The intrusiveness of a search or seizure will be upheld if it was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances." Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 990 P.2d 490 1172 (Wyo.1997). Here, the officer had received a report of erratic driving by a pickup truck containing three occupants that h......
  • O'Boyle v. State, No. 04-125.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 28, 2005
    ...¶ 13, 64 P.3d 700, ¶ 13 (Wyo.2003), or there exists an objectively reasonable suspicion that a vehicle occupant is armed, Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1172 (Wyo.1997). A number of courts also allow inquiry into travel plans during a traffic stop at least to the extent reasonably necessary......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Ryan v. State, No. 98-279.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 8, 1999
    ...to the trial court's determination of the admissibility of evidence unless that court clearly abused its discretion. Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1170 (Wyo.1997); Wilson v. State, 874 P.2d 215, 218 (Wyo. 1994). In determining whether the trial court abused its discretion, the query is whe......
  • McChesney v. State, No. 97-63.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 20, 1999
    ...whether an unreasonable search or seizure has occurred in violation of constitutional rights, is reviewed de novo. Id.; Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1170-71 (Wyo. DISCUSSION In determining whether encounters between police and citizens are constitutionally valid, we have classified these ......
  • Vasquez v. State, No. 97-140.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 16, 1999
    ..."The intrusiveness of a search or seizure will be upheld if it was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances." Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 990 P.2d 490 1172 (Wyo.1997). Here, the officer had received a report of erratic driving by a pickup truck containing three occupants that h......
  • O'Boyle v. State, No. 04-125.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 28, 2005
    ...¶ 13, 64 P.3d 700, ¶ 13 (Wyo.2003), or there exists an objectively reasonable suspicion that a vehicle occupant is armed, Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1172 (Wyo.1997). A number of courts also allow inquiry into travel plans during a traffic stop at least to the extent reasonably necessary......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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