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The People v. Arnold Ikeda

January 30, 2013


(Super. Ct. No. 2011007697) Charles W. Campbell, Judge Superior Court County of Ventura

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


(Ventura County)

We hold that where a person is detained outside but near his residence, the police may conduct a "protective sweep" inside the residence when there is a reasonable suspicion that a person therein poses a danger to officer safety.

Arnold Ikeda appeals his conviction by plea to possession of methamphetamine for sale (Health & Ins. Code, § 11378), entered after the trial court denied a motion to suppress evidence (Pen. Code, § 1538.5). The trial court found that the protective sweep of appellant's motel room, made in conjunction with appellant's detention outside the room, did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights. We affirm.

Facts & Procedural History

On February 14, 2011 the named victim reported that his laptop computer equipped with a GPS tracking device was stolen. On March 1, 2011, the tracking company notified Ventura County Deputy Sheriff Hardy that someone had changed the computer password to "Arnold Ikeda" and was using the laptop at the Holiday Inn Express in Oxnard. Deputy Hardy went to the motel and showed the motel manager appellant's photo. The manager said that appellant was in room 104, that appellant changed rooms every day, and that he had left a card key at the front desk for a woman who came and went.

Based on his training and experience, Deputy Hardy was concerned because the room change was consistent with someone selling narcotics. Room 104 was on the ground floor and had a curtained rear glass sliding door to the parking lot. Deputies Hardy and Johnson went to the front door and Detective Lynch positioned himself outside the rear sliding door,

Deputy Hardy heard two male voices inside the room, knocked, and announced "Sheriff's Department." A voice responded "One moment." A minute later, Detective Lynch saw the rear glass door open and appellant step out.

Detective Lynch detained and handcuffed appellant for officer safety purposes. Appellant said that a BB gun was in the room. Appellant claimed no one was in the room. This was inconsistent with Deputy Hardy having heard voices before knocking. He believed a woman or someone else was in the room.

Deputy Hardy and Detective Lynch announced "Sheriff's Department," pulled back the door curtain, and conducted a protective sweep. A laptop computer was in plain view and matched the description of the stolen laptop. A crystalline substance that resembled methamphetamine was on the counter and a scale, pay/owe sheet, and cash were on the bed. Appellant was arrested and consented to a search of the room. The officers seized the BB gun. After advisement and waiver of his constitutional rights, appellant admitted selling drugs and using methamphetamine.

Appellant brought a motion to suppress evidence on the theory that the protective sweep violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court denied the motion to suppress because the officer had a reasonable suspicion that someone was hiding in the room and posed a danger to officer safety.

Protective Sweep

On review, we defer to the trial court's express and implied factual findings which are supported by substantial evidence and independently determine whether the protective sweep was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. (People v. Ledesma (2003) 106 Cal.App.4th 857, 862.) It is settled officers may conduct a protective sweep of a house when a suspect is arrested outside the house and the officers have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the house harbors a person who poses a threat to officer safety. (Maryland v. Buie (1990) 494 U.S. 325, 335-336 [108 L.Ed.2d 276, 287].) Appellant argues that a protective sweep is not permitted unless the officer is lawfully inside the house or the sweep is incident to an arrest outside the house. In People v. Celis (2004) 33 Cal.4th 667 (Celis),our Supreme Court assumed, without deciding, that the Buie reasonable suspicion standard applied to a detention where an officer detained defendant outside his house and conducted a protective sweep. (Id., at pp. 679.) In Celis, officers watched defendant's house for two days and had no information that anyone else was in the house when defendant was detained in the backyard. "The facts known to the officers before they performed the protective sweep fell short of ...

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