IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Sacramento)
August 30, 2011
THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
BLAKE AARON GLASS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.
(Super. Ct. No. 10F02522)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Duarte ,j.
P. v. Glass
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
A jury convicted defendant Blake Aaron Glass (or Charlton-Glass) of possession for sale of Ecstasy and simple possession of psilocybin and hydrocodone. (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11350, 11377, 11378.) The trial court sentenced him to prison for two years, but suspended the sentence and, after defendant stipulated he was a narcotics addict, committed defendant to the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 3051.)
Defendant appeals, contending the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. We disagree and shall affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The suppression motion alleged a warrantless search had been conducted, resulting in "certain fruits[,]" and challenged the People to defend the search. (See People v. Williams (1999) 20 Cal.4th 119, 127-136 [defendant should specify inadequacy of justification for warrantless search, but is not required to guess about or suggest justifications].)
At the suppression hearing, Deputy Karl Griffiths testified that at about 9:50 a.m. on April 14, 2010, he was dispatched to 6630 Madison Avenue, a business address, "because of a disturbance regarding juveniles or possible juveniles." "[T]here were several juveniles behind the business, and they were either smoking cigarettes or smoking marijuana." Deputy Griffiths arrived at 9:54 a.m. and spoke with "several employees behind the business[,]" who told him the juveniles had just left to the east and they had had "an ongoing problem with juveniles behind their business."
Deputy Griffiths drove east, toward Dewey Drive, and found five young "subjects" carrying backpacks, consistent with the appearance of high school students, less than 100 yards from the business. It was a school day; Del Campo High School was located on Dewey Drive, south of Madison Avenue, about a half mile away, and it was common to receive complaints from local businesses about loitering students. Deputy Griffiths routinely contacts young subjects who appear to be possible high school students that are loitering to "check their age and if they're students and find out why they're not in school." He believed the youths were students and were the youths who had prompted the loitering call. They were walking north toward Madison, away from the school.
Deputy Griffiths radioed Officer McGuire, and then contacted the youths at a gas station on the corner of Madison and Dewey. He ordered them to sit down in front of his car, which they did. When Officer McGuire arrived, the officers began identifying the youths and running record checks. They ranged in age between 18 and 19 and defendant was on searchable probation. The youths admitted having been behind the business that made the initial report, and stated they had been smoking cigarettes. A probation search of defendant revealed various narcotics.*fn1
The trial court denied the suppression motion. Based on photographs in evidence, the trial court found that after the employees told Deputy Griffiths the youths had just left, "within probably 45 seconds of making the turn onto the parking lot, he sees a group of five people that he says look young, look like they belong in high school; no other juveniles in sight. [¶] That, to me, is sufficient to cause him to be legitimately suspicious that they are in fact the people who were just moments before behind the building. But he says more than that. He says they all look like they belong in high school, and he's concerned about truancy." Further, activity logs showed that "within four minutes of the contact, he knows that your client is on searchable probation."
As he did in the trial court, defendant argues lack of reasonable suspicion, relying heavily on cases involving anonymous tips, and the level of corroboration required to justify detention based on such tips. (See, e.g., Florida v. J.L. (2000) 529 U.S. 266 [146 L.Ed.2d 254]; People v. Jordan (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 544; People v. Saldana (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 170.)
But this case does not involve an anonymous tip.*fn2 It involved citizen complaints, which were followed up with actual contact and interviews of identified complainants. Deputy Griffiths was dispatched in response to a call from a known business, and when he arrived, employees personally told him the juveniles complained of had just left, and stated they had had ongoing problems with juveniles behind their business. These were presumptively reliable citizens reporting a possible crime.*fn3 (See People v. Ramey (1976) 16 Cal.3d 263, 268-269; People v. Hogan (1969) 71 Cal.2d 888, 890-891.)
But here we have no need to consider whether the loitering and smoking report supports the detention, because the record shows that Deputy Griffiths properly detained defendant as part of his truancy investigation.
Although the trial court referred to this ground in upholding the detention, defendant simply asserts the youths were not juveniles and were walking in the direction opposite from the school, a half mile away. This does not show the detention was unlawful.
Any peace officer may arrest "any minor subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education found away from his or her home and who is absent from school without valid excuse[.]" (Ed. Code, § 48264.)
"A 'detention to investigate whether a person is a truant is justified when there are specific and articulable facts causing an officer to suspect, reasonably, that a truancy violation is occurring, and that the person he intends to detain is a truant. [Citations.]' [Citation.] Such articulable, relevant, and objectively verifiable facts justifying a truancy detention include the minor's youthful appearance, carrying a book bag, while walking at least three miles from the nearest school when school is in session." (In re Humberto O. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 237, 241; see In re James D. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 903, 915-918 [detention lawful if "specific and articulable facts" support a reasonable belief that a person is a truant].) However, the officer's subjective belief is irrelevant, what matters is whether the facts actually known to the officer suffice. (See People v. Woods (1999) 21 Cal.4th 668, 674-682; People v. Lloyd (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 724, 732-733 & fn. 8.)*fn4
In this case, all five members of the group appeared to be high school students. They carried backpacks and were near a school during school hours. The fact they were walking in the opposite direction from the school does not speak to whether they were students, because truants may leave school prematurely or stay away altogether--both actions qualify as truancy.
As stated by the California Supreme Court, "The judge at a suppression hearing should be able to determine, from looking at the defendant and taking into account any changes in his appearance since the event, whether the officer's estimation of age was reasonable." (In re James D., supra, 43 Cal.3d at p. 916.) The fact the persons detained were 18 and 19 years old, rather than under 18, does not mean "the officer's on-the-spot estimation" of age was unreasonable. (In re James D., supra, at pp. 916-917.)
Viewing the record in the light favorable to the trial court's ruling (Martin, supra, 9 Cal.3d at p. 692), the facts known to Deputy Griffiths made it reasonable for him to detain the group to investigate possible truancy. While doing so, he promptly learned of and invoked defendant's probation search condition.
Accordingly, defendant has shown no basis to overturn the trial court's order denying the suppression motion.
The judgment is affirmed.
We concur: BLEASE , Acting P. J. BUTZ , J.