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The People v. Clint Lindsey Miller

April 29, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. 10F00149)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch , J.

P. v. Miller



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Clint Lindsey Miller was charged with possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)). After the magistrate denied defendant's motion to suppress evidence (Pen. Code, § 1538.5),*fn1 a jury convicted defendant. The trial court suspended imposition of judgment and sentence and placed defendant on formal probation for five years.

Defendant appeals, contending his motion to suppress evidence should have been granted. We affirm.


Because defendant does not allege error at trial, we recite only the evidence before the magistrate on the motion to suppress.


Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Shaun Hampton, the arresting officer, testified as the sole witness at the hearing on defendant's motion. A DVD made from his patrol car was also offered in evidence and played in open court.

On the evening of January 1, 2010, Deputy Hampton was on patrol with his canine in a marked police car. A nine-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, he is trained as to the symptoms shown by persons under the influence of methamphetamine. Deputy Hampton has been involved in over 500 investigations for possession of methamphetamine, including speaking to more than 100 people who admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine during the conversation. These symptoms of drug intoxication include excessive or erratic body movements, sweating profusely, excessive and speedy talking, elevated heart rate, and dilated pupils. However, Deputy Hampton is not certified to conduct investigations and make arrests for driving under the influence. Also, sheriff's deputies do not have the necessary equipment for DUI arrests. To make such an arrest, Deputy Hampton would have to call out the California Highway Patrol (CHP), with which the sheriff's department has an arrangement, to perform this task. On the night in question, Deputy Hampton knew from listening to his car radio that CHP was "very, very busy."

At 10:33 p.m., Deputy Hampton, heading southbound on Watt Avenue in Sacramento County, stopped for a red light at El Camino Avenue. He saw two cars turning northbound onto Watt Avenue, driving quickly through the intersection, appearing to be "traveling in tandem" or racing. One continued northbound; the other, driven by defendant, turned eastbound onto Robertson Avenue. Deputy Hampton made a u-turn and caught up with defendant's car.

As defendant continued on Robertson Avenue, a single-lane undivided road with large parcels of property on both sides, he was traveling at a very high speed for the suburban but "slightly rural" neighborhood. Deputy Hampton recalled that the speed limit was 25 to 30 miles per hour.

On reaching the intersection of Robertson Avenue and Montclaire Street, which is controlled by a stop sign, defendant turned left (northbound) on Montclaire without fully stopping at the sign. Deputy Hampton recalled driving at 50 to 60 miles per hour to catch up to defendant.

After turning onto Montclaire, Deputy Hampton activated his vehicle's lights to conduct a traffic stop to investigate defendant's Vehicle Code violations and find out if defendant had an emergency. When defendant's car came to a stop, Deputy Hampton observed that its registration tabs had expired in 2008.

As Deputy Hampton walked over to defendant's car, he could not see through the back window how many persons were inside because the car's interior was dark and the windows were tinted. Once Deputy Hampton reached the car, he saw that another person (later identified as defendant's son who, based on the DVD, is taller than defendant) was a passenger.

Deputy Hampton first asked defendant to stay in the car, because defendant had opened his door as if to get out. This act "really caught [Hampton's] attention," since most people stopped ...

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