State v. Pickens, No. 2008AP1514-CR.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtLundsten
Citation779 N.W.2d 1,2010 WI App 5
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Sameeh J. PICKENS, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 2008AP1514-CR.
Decision Date23 December 2009
779 N.W.2d 1
2010 WI App 5
STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Sameeh J. PICKENS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 2008AP1514-CR.
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.
Submitted on Briefs March 6, 2009.
Opinion Filed December 23, 2009.

[779 N.W.2d 3]

On behalf of the defendant-appellant, the cause was submitted on the briefs of Eileen A. Hirsch, assistant state public defender of Madison.

On behalf of the plaintiff-respondent, the cause was submitted on the brief of Sarah K. Larson, assistant attorney general, and J.B. Van Hollen, attorney general.

Before DYKMAN, P.J., LUNDSTEN and HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.

¶ 1 LUNDSTEN, J.


Sameeh Pickens was detained outside a hotel because the police suspected that he and others were involved in illegal drug activity at the hotel. The police obtained incriminating evidence from Pickens and from a hotel room in which Pickens was apparently staying. Pickens moved to suppress this evidence, arguing that his detention was illegal and that the evidence was obtained as a result of the illegal detention. The circuit court disagreed and denied the motion. Pickens entered pleas and was convicted of two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver as party to a crime. On appeal, Pickens challenges the suppression rulings.

¶ 2 The interaction of law and facts in this case is complicated. For now, it must suffice to say that we will address the following questions:

(1) In determining whether there is reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention, may a court consider that officers have knowledge of the bare fact that a person is suspected by other officers of prior criminal behavior?

(2) Assuming that the police had sufficient information to initiate a brief investigative detention, did police illegally detain Pickens when he was handcuffed and secured in the back of a squad car while police continued their investigation in the hotel?

(3) Should evidence found in the hotel room where Pickens was apparently staying, and in a safe within the room, be suppressed because the person who consented to the search of the room—an occupant who said she was staying in the room with Pickens—did not have apparent authority with respect to the room or the safe?

(4) If the occupant lacked apparent authority, with respect to either the room or the safe, was evidence found in either of those locations admissible under the inevitable discovery doctrine?

¶ 3 Our answers to these questions lead us to reverse the judgment, affirm the order in part and reverse it in part, and remand with directions to suppress the

779 N.W.2d 4

evidence obtained from Pickens and from the safe inside the hotel room, but not the evidence found in the room apart from the safe.

Background

¶ 4 On the morning of August 4, 2003, Madison police were conducting an investigation at the Select Inn hotel. Initially, the investigation centered on whether a room was acquired by fraud, but, as the investigation progressed, police learned additional facts suggesting illegal drug activity.

¶ 5 An officer found a man sleeping in a car in the hotel parking lot. The man identified himself as Pickens. The officer had seen a flier in a police briefing area stating that Pickens was a suspect in a shooting incident. After the officer questioned Pickens for a short time, the officer placed Pickens in handcuffs and secured him in the back of a squad car while the officer returned to investigate inside the hotel.

¶ 6 During the ensuing investigation, police located suspects in Room 220 and one of these suspects said he had rented another room—which police determined was Room 216—for Pickens. After Pickens had spent about forty minutes in the back of the squad, an officer asked if Pickens would consent to a search of his person. He did, and the search yielded over $1,700 in cash and what were later determined to be keys to Room 216 and to a safe in that room.

¶ 7 The police went to Room 216 and knocked. The door was answered by a lone occupant named Bryana Clark. Clark consented to a search of the room, which yielded drugs and drug paraphernalia on top of and inside a dresser. Using one of the keys they had taken from Pickens, the police unlocked the safe in the room and found cocaine base and heroin.

Discussion

¶ 8 At the time police detained Pickens, they knew that he was suspected by other officers of being involved in a shooting on a prior occasion, but there was no testimony at the suppression hearing about facts supporting that suspicion. The parties dispute whether we may consider the officers' knowledge of the bare fact that Pickens was suspected by other officers of being involved in a prior shooting.

¶ 9 The shooting information matters because it is the primary basis on which the State justifies the decision to not simply detain Pickens, but to secure him in handcuffs in the back of a squad car. As we shall see, the legality of this level of intrusiveness turns on whether the police had reason to believe that Pickens was dangerous. The prosecutor needed to do more than show that police were entitled to temporarily detain Pickens; the prosecutor needed to show the police were justified in taking these extra measures to restrain him. The legality of this detention, in turn, matters because it led to some of the evidence Pickens seeks to suppress.

¶ 10 Thus, we begin by resolving the dispute over what information we may consider. We then determine the reasonableness of Pickens' detention. After that, we address the propriety of the searches of the hotel room and the safe in that room.

1. The Bare Fact That Investigating Officers Knew That Other Officers Suspected Pickens Was Involved In A Prior Shooting

¶ 11 Pickens does not dispute that reasonable suspicion is assessed by looking at the collective knowledge of police officers.1 But he does argue that, in

779 N.W.2d 5

the absence of underlying facts, the mere knowledge of the suspicion of other officers is not the sort of information courts may consider in determining whether the reasonable suspicion standard is met. We agree.

¶ 12 Our analysis focuses, as it must, on the information presented to the court and not on the undeniable fact that police officers often properly act on the basis of the knowledge of other officers without knowing the underlying facts. For example, under the collective knowledge doctrine, an investigating officer with knowledge of facts amounting to reasonable suspicion may direct a second officer without such knowledge to stop and detain a suspect. See Tangwall v. Stuckey, 135 F.3d 510, 517 (7th Cir.1998) (where arresting officer does not personally know the facts, an arrest is proper if the knowledge of the officer directing the arrest, or the collective knowledge of police, is sufficient to constitute probable cause).

¶ 13 At the same time, in a collective knowledge situation, if a defendant moves to suppress, the prosecutor must prove the collective knowledge that supports the stop. Proof is not supplied by the mere testimony of one officer that he relied on the unspecified knowledge of another officer. Such testimony provides no basis for the court to assess the validity of the police suspicion—it contains no specific, articulable facts to which the court can apply the reasonable suspicion standard. This conclusion flows from the following law.

¶ 14 The State bears the burden of proving that a temporary detention was reasonable. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983); State v. Quartana, 213 Wis.2d 440, 445, 570 N.W.2d 618 (Ct.App.1997). Such a detention requires a reasonable suspicion, grounded in "specific and articulable facts," and reasonable inferences from those facts, that an individual was engaging in illegal activity. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968); see also State v. Waldner, 206 Wis.2d 51, 56, 556 N.W.2d 681 (1996). The Terry Court explained that courts need the underlying articulable facts in order to perform their neutral oversight function:

I]n justifying the particular intrusion [at a suppression hearing] the police officer must be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion. The scheme of the Fourth Amendment becomes meaningful only when it is assured that at some point the conduct of those charged with enforcing the laws can be subjected to the more detached, neutral scrutiny of a judge....

Terry, 392 U.S. at 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868 (footnote omitted); see also Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14, 68 S.Ct. 367, 92 L.Ed. 436 (1948) (the protection of the Fourth Amendment consists of requiring that facts and reasonable inferences from those facts "be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime").

¶ 15 Reliance on non-specific information from other officers was addressed in United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 105 S.Ct. 675, 83 L.Ed.2d 604 (1985). There,

[779 N.W.2d 6

as here, officers relied on information from a police flier or bulletin, and the Court addressed the proper approach to assessing whether reasonable suspicion justifies a stop in that situation:

I]f a flyer or bulletin has been issued on the basis of articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion that the wanted person has committed an offense, then reliance on that flyer or bulletin justifies a stop to check identification, to pose questions to the person, or to detain the person briefly while attempting to obtain further information. If the flyer has been issued in the absence of a reasonable suspicion, then a stop ... violates the Fourth Amendment. ... [W]e hold that the evidence uncovered in the course of the stop is admissible if the police who issued the flyer or bulletin possessed a reasonable suspicion justifying a stop, and if the stop that in fact occurred was not...

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27 practice notes
  • State v. Abbott, Appeal No. 2019AP21-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • April 16, 2020
    ...justify a reasonable belief that the party consenting had the authority to do so. State v. Pickens , 2010 WI App 5, ¶39, 323 Wis. 2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1. ¶15 Whether common authority exists depends on whether the third party has "joint access [to] or control" over the individual's p......
  • State v. Avery, No. 2010AP411–CR.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • August 24, 2011
    ...nor the law supports Avery's contention. ¶ 33 Avery relies on this court's holding in State v. Pickens, 2010 WI App 5, 323 Wis.2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1, that the inevitable discovery rule requires “that the police be actively pursuing the legal alternative—here, a warrant—prior to the unlawful ......
  • State v. Blatterman, No. 2013AP2107–CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • May 5, 2015
    ...detention unreasonable [or transform a] detention into an arrest.” 362 Wis.2d 163State v. Pickens, 2010 WI App 5, ¶ 32, 323 Wis.2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1. However, for such measures to be reasonable, they must be justified by particular circumstances, such as the risk of harm to the officers. Se......
  • State v. Bourgeois, Appeal No. 2020AP1808-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • March 23, 2022
    ...the State also makes no attempt to invoke the collective knowledge doctrine, see State v. Pickens , 2010 WI App 5, ¶13, 323 Wis. 2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1 (2009) ("[I]n a collective knowledge situation, if a defendant moves to suppress, the prosecutor must prove the collective knowledge tha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • State v. Abbott, Appeal No. 2019AP21-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • April 16, 2020
    ...justify a reasonable belief that the party consenting had the authority to do so. State v. Pickens , 2010 WI App 5, ¶39, 323 Wis. 2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1. ¶15 Whether common authority exists depends on whether the third party has "joint access [to] or control" over the individual's p......
  • State v. Avery, No. 2010AP411–CR.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • August 24, 2011
    ...nor the law supports Avery's contention. ¶ 33 Avery relies on this court's holding in State v. Pickens, 2010 WI App 5, 323 Wis.2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1, that the inevitable discovery rule requires “that the police be actively pursuing the legal alternative—here, a warrant—prior to the unlawful ......
  • State v. Blatterman, No. 2013AP2107–CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • May 5, 2015
    ...detention unreasonable [or transform a] detention into an arrest.” 362 Wis.2d 163State v. Pickens, 2010 WI App 5, ¶ 32, 323 Wis.2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1. However, for such measures to be reasonable, they must be justified by particular circumstances, such as the risk of harm to the officers. Se......
  • State v. Bourgeois, Appeal No. 2020AP1808-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • March 23, 2022
    ...the State also makes no attempt to invoke the collective knowledge doctrine, see State v. Pickens , 2010 WI App 5, ¶13, 323 Wis. 2d 226, 779 N.W.2d 1 (2009) ("[I]n a collective knowledge situation, if a defendant moves to suppress, the prosecutor must prove the collective knowledge tha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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