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State v. Chandler

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DANIEL LOUIS CHANDLER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P. McLellan, Judge.

         Daniel Chandler appeals his convictions following a bench trial on the minutes of evidence.

          Shawn Smith of Shawn Smith, Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C., Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.

         One winter night, a Des Moines police officer stopped a vehicle driven by Daniel Chandler. The officer had "pulled him over several times" before and knew "he was on a temporary restricted license, that he was supposed to have an Intoxilyzer in his vehicle, and that he was supposed to have a work permit if he was driving a vehicle." She also knew he worked for a lawn care company. The officer saw a passenger in the vehicle. She checked Chandler's license, instructed him to step out of the vehicle, and searched him. The search uncovered marijuana. Chandler scuffled with the officer before being handcuffed and arrested.

         Chandler was subsequently charged with possession of a controlled substance (third offense) as an habitual offender and interference with official acts inflicting bodily injury. See Iowa Code §§ 124.401(5), 719.1(1)(e), 902.8 (2015). He moved to suppress the evidence gained in the search on the ground that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle. The district court denied the motion.

         Chandler agreed to a trial on the minutes of evidence. The minutes made reference to his prior convictions. The district court found Chandler guilty and imposed the sentencing enhancements.

         On appeal, Chandler argues the district court (1) should have granted his motion to suppress, (2) made successive findings of guilt in violation of constitutional double jeopardy provisions, and (3) should have required greater proof of his prior offenses.

          I. Suppression Ruling

         The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution require reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle for investigatory purposes. See Navarette v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (2014); State v. Pals, 805 N.W.2d 767, 774 (Iowa 2011). The State must show "the stopping officer had specific and articulable facts, which taken together with rational inferences from those facts, to reasonably believe criminal activity may have occurred." State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 204 (Iowa 2004); accord Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 123-24 (2000). "Mere suspicion, curiosity, or hunch of criminal activity is not enough." Tague, 676 N.W.2d at 204; accord Wardlow, 528 U.S. at 123-24 ("The officer must be able to articulate more than an 'inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or "hunch"' of criminal activity." (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 27 (1968))).

         Chandler contends the officer lacked "'specific and articulable facts' to believe that [he] was not properly operating his vehicle pursuant to the restrictions imposed upon him by nature of his temporary restricted license" and she acted with "no more than a simple 'hunch' that [he] may have been violating the terms of his temporary restricted license." On our de novo review of this constitutional issue, we disagree.

[C]arrying a passenger, on a Sunday evening at 10:30 p.m. in the wintertime when Chandler's employment was potentially with a landscaping company forms a reasonable basis that Chandler was not driving his vehicle home from work and thus [was] violating the terms of his [temporary restricted ...

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