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The People v. Aaron Randolph White

December 29, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
AARON RANDOLPH WHITE, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 10F03533)

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

P. v. White

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following denial of his motions to suppress evidence under Penal Code section 1538.5, subdivision (i), made initially at the preliminary hearing and renewed in the trial court, defendant Aaron Randolph White entered a felony plea of no contest to unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon (Pen. Code, § 12025, subd. (b)(6)) in exchange for a stipulated disposition of five years' probation and 180 days in county jail. Defendant appeals the denial of the renewed motion to suppress evidence of a loaded handgun the police found after completing a warrantless patsearch of his outer clothing during their investigation of a domestic violence call. He maintains that the police did not point to specific, articulable facts that would have led a reasonable officer to conclude that he was armed and dangerous. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

In reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress evidence, we derive the relevant facts from evidence adduced at the suppression hearings. (Pen. Code, § 1538.5, subd. (i).)*fn1 Here, the record establishes that in May 2010 Officers Leonard and Stanionis were summoned to an apartment complex in response to a domestic violence call placed by Tyra Cole. Cole informed the dispatcher that she was outside her house following a physical altercation with her boyfriend and needed help in getting the boyfriend to leave the house. Cole told the dispatcher defendant's name was Aaron White and described him as a skinny, five-foot-nine-inch tall, black male, aged 23. Cole made no mention of weapons and stated she did not need medical aid.

We separately summarize the testimony of the two officers.

Officer Leonard

Upon arriving, the officers encountered Cole and defendant on the sidewalk just outside of their apartment. When Officer Leonard asked Cole if she was the female caller, Cole quietly said yes but appeared to Leonard to be scared of defendant. "She had turned away from him" as she answered the officer's question. Officer Leonard then approached defendant while Officer Stanionis interviewed Cole. He asked defendant whether he was "White," to which defendant said yes. Officer Leonard testified that initially, defendant's demeanor was "[c]asual. He was just standing there."

Officer Leonard asked defendant to consent to a pat-down for weapons. Defendant loudly protested the patsearch. Ultimately, Officer Leonard conducted a patsearch of defendant, and after feeling the butt of a handgun in defendant's front waistband, Leonard seized a loaded .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol from defendant's person.

When asked why he made the decision to pat defendant down for weapons, Officer Leonard testified "because I had seen the injury on Cole and at that point I knew it was most likely the same Aaron White that she had called about." Officer Leonard described the injury as "scrapes" on Cole's neck. He testified that the nature of Cole's call concerned him despite the fact that there was no report of a weapon being used.

Regarding defendant's clothes, Officer Leonard testified that the bulky clothing raised his suspicions because "[i]t's not readily easy to see if somebody's got weapons. [¶] Also, it was, I felt, in general it was too hot for a jacket. It's unusual to be wearing a jacket for that temperature." Officer Leonard also testified that the color of appellant's clothing -- a black jacket and a black T-shirt with red on the front -- also raised his suspicions.*fn2 In rebuttal, defense counsel offered into evidence a printout from the Web site of the National Weather Service. The ...


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