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In Re N.M., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. N.M

July 20, 2011

IN RE N.M., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
N.M., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 67933)

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

In re N.M.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

The minor, N.M., appeals from the juvenile court's order denying his motion to suppress under Welfare and Institutions Code section 700.1 and the court's final dispositional order. His sole contention on appeal is that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized by police in connection with his unlawful detention. We agree and shall reverse the orders.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On January 31, 2010, Tracy Police Detective Timothy Bauer was called to investigate a shooting involving two rival gangs--the Nortenos and the Border Brothers--that had taken place somewhere in the City of Tracy. He spoke with multiple witnesses who indicated that a black, four-door Lexus, without tinted windows and with a gold "L" emblem on the front, had fled the scene. The witnesses did not identify particular suspects.

Thirteen days after the shooting, Detective Bauer was at the intersection of Hollow Avenue and Cavanaugh Avenue in Tracy when he saw a vehicle he described as an "exact match" to the one that had been described by witnesses. Bauer was familiar with the neighborhood as one "claimed" by the Northside Nortenos.

Detective Bauer could see that there were four people in the car, one female and three males. He conducted a traffic stop. After he approached the car, he recognized the driver by his name. He then obtained the names and birth dates of the four occupants of the vehicle. Bauer learned that the driver and two of the passengers were on searchable juvenile probation. The minor, who was not on searchable probation, was seated in the left rear passenger seat. While searching the vehicle, officers found a loaded .22-caliber, semiautomatic Beretta handgun on the left rear floorboard of the car, under a red beanie cap.

The minor was arrested and a petition was filed alleging he came within the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code section 602, in that he was a minor in possession of a firearm (Pen. Code, § 12101, subd. (a)), was a minor in possession of ammunition (id., § 12101, subd. (b)), and had committed street terrorism as part of a criminal street gang (id., § 186.22, subd. (a)).

The minor filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized in the search of the car, specifically the gun and the ammunition in it. The minor argued the initial stop was made without reasonable, articulable suspicion. Accordingly, the minor sought suppression of the physical and testimonial evidence obtained as a result of the stop. The court denied the motion, finding there was reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts. "It was a specific type of car, color, make, indicia of uniqueness to the extent that it had the gold markings. It was in the area known to be frequented by Nortenos. [Detective Bauer] had information that Nortenos were involved in the [prior] shooting."

The parties agreed to a negotiated disposition in which the minor admitted he had been in possession of a firearm. The ammunition allegation was dismissed in the interests of justice and the street gang allegation was dismissed for insufficient evidence. His maximum period of confinement was ...


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