People v. Sullivan

Decision Date15 March 1984
Docket NumberNo. 82CA1497,82CA1497
Citation680 P.2d 851
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. David P. SULLIVAN, Defendant-Appellant. . II
CourtColorado Court of Appeals

Duane Woodard, Atty. Gen., Charles B. Howe, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., Richard H. Forman, Sol. Gen., John Daniel Dailey, First Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, for plaintiff-appellee.

Steven R. Newell, P.C., Steven R. Newell, Steven P. Martens, Denver, for defendant-appellant.


Defendant, David P. Sullivan, appeals the judgment of conviction for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana concentrate) following trial to the court. We affirm.

The facts are undisputed. On August 31, 1981, Officer Galusha of the Longmont Police Department received a tip from a confidential informant. The informant told Galusha that David P. Sullivan would arrive at Stapleton International Airport in Denver on September 1, 1981, on a United Airlines flight from Seattle, Washington, at approximately 10:30 a.m., where he was to meet Ray Hightower. Sullivan was described by the informant as being 5'6"' tall with dark hair, wearing a three-piece suit, and carrying a flight bag. Galusha was told that Sullivan had been arrested at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for trafficking controlled substances, but was free on bond pending charges in that state. The informant told Galusha that Sullivan would be carrying approximately one pound of hashish or marijuana concentrate in a flight bag, or on his person, and was planning to discuss the sale of this controlled substance with Ray Hightower. Ray Hightower was an individual personally known to Galusha.

Galusha testified that during the summer of 1981, this confidential informant had provided reliable information on several occasions regarding illicit dealings in controlled substances. He testified that the informant's information had led to the purchase of controlled substances by police officers under his personal direction, and had resulted in arrests of the suspects and seizure of the controlled substances.

Galusha reported this tip to others, and the next day at approximately 9:30 a.m., met an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Detective Costigan of the Denver Police Department at Stapleton International Airport, there informing them of the details of the tip.

Costigan verified with United Airlines that David P. Sullivan would arrive from Seattle, Washington, on Flight 694 at 10:35 a.m. on that date. Having verified this information, Costigan then arranged to have present dogs specially trained to sniff out and detect controlled substances in closed containers.

The disembarkation area for Flight 694 was placed under surveillance. When the passengers deplaned and an individual matching Sullivan's description carrying a small black piece of luggage contacted Ray Hightower, Galusha signaled the other members of the surveillance team.

The officers followed Sullivan and Hightower as they walked from the concourse to the lower level and past the baggage carousel. When Sullivan failed to retrieve any baggage from the carousel, and approached the exit from the terminal building, Costigan approached and asked Sullivan for his name and identification. Although Sullivan complied with the request, Costigan testified that he appeared nervous and became visibly shaken when told that the detective believed he was carrying a controlled substance. When Sullivan denied his previous arrest, Costigan decided to detain him for the dog sniff procedure. Sullivan was then taken to the DEA office at the airport, over his express objection, where the dogs identified Sullivan's flight bag as containing a controlled substance.

Costigan took Sullivan to the Denver Police Department where he was held until a search warrant was obtained. The search of Sullivan's bag produced approximately 450 grams of marijuana concentrate. Sullivan was then formally arrested and a search of his person produced $3,500 in cash.

Sullivan moved to suppress the contraband and cash upon the ground that no probable cause existed for his arrest and thus its seizure was the fruit of an illegal arrest. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that Sullivan's detention constituted a temporary and valid investigatory stop, based upon an articulable suspicion, for a valid purpose, and that its nature and scope were reasonable under the circumstances. See People v. Elliott, 675 P.2d 326 (Colo.App.1983).

Although the trial court did not enter conclusions of law concerning probable cause for warrantless arrest, we can make an independent determination of this issue because the facts are not disputed on appeal and the evidence is before us. People v. Magoon, 645 P.2d 286 (Colo.App.1982).

In determining the existence of probable cause we apply the totality...

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4 cases
  • People v. Vazquez, 84CA1173
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • July 7, 1988
    ...697 P.2d 766 (Colo.App.1984), aff'd 728 P.2d 1271 (Colo.1986). See also People v. Smith, 685 P.2d 786 (Colo.App.1984); People v. Sullivan, 680 P.2d 851 (Colo.App.1984); People v. Gallegos, 680 P.2d 1294 (Colo.App.1983). That test continues to rely on former elements of probable cause determ......
  • People v. Salazar, 83CA1066
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • September 12, 1985
    ...of the circumstances" test announced in Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983). See People v. Sullivan, 680 P.2d 851 (Colo.App.1984); People v. Gallegos, 680 P.2d 1294 (Colo.App.1983). Here, Bervig's statement corroborating Silva's information, and police con......
  • People v. Smith
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • July 5, 1984
    ...S.Ct. 2317, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983), and adopted by this court in People v. Gallegos, 680 P.2d 1294 (Colo.App.1983) and People v. Sullivan, 680 P.2d 851 (Colo.App.1984), we agree with the trial court's conclusion that the remaining facts set forth in the affidavit establish probable cause suf......
  • People v. Peltz, 82CA1241
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • August 23, 1984 being one in which the "totality of the circumstances" is considered. People v. Smith, 685 P.2d 786 (Colo.App.1984); People v. Sullivan, 680 P.2d 851 (Colo.App.1984); People v. Gallegos, 680 P.2d 1294 Here, the information provided by the named informant was both detailed and corroborat......
1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Rules and C.R.S. of Evidence Annotated (CBA)
    • Invalid date
    ...was used by the court to make the probable cause determination. People v. Gallegos, 680 P.2d 1294 (Colo. App. 1983); People v. Sullivan, 680 P.2d 851 (Colo. App. 1983). A trial court must consider the totality of the circumstances in the evidentiary record in determining whether an investig......

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