Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Davis

Supreme Court of Connecticut

April 2, 2019

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
QUENTINE L. DAVIS

          Argued November 16, 2018

         Procedural History

         Information charging the defendant with the crimes of criminal possession of a pistol, carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of less than onehalf ounce of cannabistype substance, breach of peace in the second degree and interfering with an officer, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven, geographical area number twentythree, where the court, B. Fischer, J., denied the defendant's motion to suppress certain evidence; thereafter, the defendant was presented to the court, Cradle, J., on a conditional plea of nolo contendere to the charges of criminal possession of a pistol and carrying a pistol without a permit; judgment of guilty in accordance with the plea, from which the defendant appealed. Reversed; further proceedings.

          Daniel M. Erwin, for the appellant (defendant).

          Jennifer F. Miller, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Patrick J. Griffin, state's attorney, and Devant Joiner, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Robinson, C. J., and Palmer, McDonald, D'Auria, Mullins and Ecker, Js. [*]

          OPINION

          ROBINSON, C. J.

         The sole issue in this appeal is whether, under Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 188 L.Ed.2d 680 (2014), the trial court properly denied a motion to suppress evidence discovered by the police during the forcible detention of the defendant, Quentine L. Davis, pursuant to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), on the basis of an anonymous telephone tip regarding ‘‘a young man that has a handgun.'' After the police detained the defendant, they saw him drop an object in a garbage can, a subsequent search of which revealed a handgun. The defendant was arrested and charged with, inter alia, criminal possession of a pistol in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217c and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a).[1] The defendant moved to suppress the handgun, claiming that the evidence resulting from the search of the garbage can was tainted as the result of his unlawful seizure. Specifically, the defendant claimed that the anonymous tip did not give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in, or was about to be engaged in, criminal activity, and, therefore, that his detention violated his right to be free from unreasonable seizures under the fourth amendment to the United States constitution[2] and article first, §§ 7 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. Thereafter, the defendant entered a conditional plea of nolo contendere to the gun charges pursuant to General Statutes § 54-94a. See also footnote 4 of this opinion. The trial court accepted that plea and rendered a judgment of conviction. This appeal followed.[3] We agree with the defendant's claim that his detention violated his fourth amendment rights under Navarette. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court improperly denied the motion to suppress and reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         The record reveals the following facts that were found by the trial court or are undisputed, and procedural history. At approximately 7:26 p.m. on the evening of September 28, 2016, the New Haven Police Department received an anonymous 911 telephone call regarding ‘‘a young man that has a handgun.'' The caller reported that he could see ‘‘a whole bunch'' of men between 472 and 476 Winthrop Avenue in New Haven, some of whom were gathered around a black Infiniti. The caller could not ‘‘say exactly how many'' men there were because they were crossing back and forth across the street. The caller stated that he could see the handgun from his window but that he could not identify the specific person who was carrying it because all of the men were wearing dark clothing. When asked, the caller denied that the men were fighting or arguing. When the dispatcher inquired, the caller declined to give his name or telephone number.

         The dispatcher relayed the anonymous tip to police officers on the beat. Within minutes, three police cruisers containing at least five uniformed police officers arrived at the scene. At least one of the cruisers was sounding its siren. As the police officers exited the cruisers, a number of them unholstered their guns. The officers considered this location to be in a high crime area.

         The officers observed approximately six men standing around a black Infiniti. As the police approached the men, they walked away. Officer Thomas Glynn ordered them to stop, and five of them did. Glynn and another officer, Matthew Collier, recognized two of the men from previous criminal interactions. The sixth individual, later identified as the defendant, continued to walk away from the police down Winthrop Avenue, despite additional orders to stop by Collier and Glynn. The defendant held his right hand at his waist in front of his body, extended his arm, and dropped an object into a garbage can. Shortly after dropping the object, the defendant turned toward Collier and Glynn and said something to the effect of ‘‘who, me?'' At that point, the police arrested the defendant. A subsequent search of the garbage can produced a 9 millimeter handgun.

         The defendant was charged with criminal possession of a pistol in violation of § 53a-217c and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of § 29-35 (a).[4] Thereafter, he filed a motion to suppress the handgun, claiming that his detention violated the fourth amendment of the United States constitution and article first, §§ 7 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution, and that the search of the garbage can was tainted by his unconstitutional seizure. Specifically, the defendant contended that the anonymous telephone tip was not sufficiently reliable to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court determined that the police effectuated an investigative stop of the defendant when Glynn initially ordered the six men to stop.[5] The trial court further concluded that, under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Navarette v. California, supra, 572 U.S. 393, the anonymous telephone tip was sufficiently reliable to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity because (1) the caller was relaying his firsthand, eyewitness observations, (2) the caller's observations were contemporaneous with the call, (3) the caller was using the 911 system, and (4) the caller was reporting what would have been a ‘‘startling event'' for a person in his position. In addition, the trial court found it ‘‘significant'' that the police officers knew that this location was in a high crime area and that the six individuals who were gathered around the black Infiniti immediately began to disperse upon seeing the police. The trial court also noted, without further comment, that the police recognized two of the individuals from prior criminal encounters. Accordingly, the trial court denied the defendant's motion to suppress.

         Thereafter, the defendant filed a ‘‘motion to reconsider and/or articulate'' in which he contended that the trial court's reliance on Navarette was misplaced because the state had not cited that case. The defendant further argued that, because Navarette was based on specific concerns arising in the context of anonymous tips about drunk driving, it should be limited to that context. The defendant also requested that the trial court clarify whether it had rejected his claim under the state constitution. The trial court summarily denied this motion.

         Thereafter, the defendant entered a conditional plea of nolo contendere to the gun charges pursuant to § 54-94a. The trial court accepted the plea and imposed an effective sentence of ten years imprisonment, execution suspended after five years, followed by ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.