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State v. Sanchez

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division, Department B

July 2, 2013


Not for Publication Rule 111, Rules of the Supreme Court

APPEAL FROM THE SUPERIOR COURT OF PIMA COUNTY Cause No. CR20120143001 Honorable Jose Robles, Judge Pro Tempore.

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General By Joseph T. Maziarz and Kathryn A. Damstra Tucson Attorneys for Appellee.

The Law Offices of Stephanie K. Bond, P.C. By Stephanie K. Bond Tucson Attorney for Appellant.


GARYE L. VÁSQUEZ, Presiding Judge.

¶1 After a jury trial, appellant Christian Sanchez was convicted of possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited possessor. After finding Sanchez had two or more prior felony convictions, the trial court sentenced him to a mitigated six-year term of imprisonment. On appeal, Sanchez claims the court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence. For the following reasons, we affirm.

¶2 When reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress evidence, "we view the facts in the light most favorable to upholding the trial court's ruling and consider only the evidence presented at the suppression hearing." State v. Teagle, 217 Ariz. 17, ¶ 2, 170 P.3d 266, 269 (App. 2007). When reviewing a trial court's denial of a motion to suppress based upon "an alleged Fourth Amendment violation, we defer to the trial court's factual findings, including findings on credibility and the reasonableness of the inferences drawn by [police] officer[s], but we review de novo mixed questions of law and fact and the trial court's ultimate legal conclusions." Id ¶ 19; State v. Wyman, 197 Ariz. 10, ¶ 5, 3 P.3d 392, 395 (App. 2000).

¶3 On January 5, 2012, Keith Olson, a sixteen-year veteran police officer, received an attempt to locate bulletin (ATL) requesting assistance in locating Marco Rivera, the suspected shooter in an incident that had occurred a few days earlier. Detective Lance Padilla, who had prepared the ATL, testified that although no arrest warrant existed for Rivera as of January 5, the ATL was directed at a "police talk . . . mean[ing] stop and arrest."[1] The ATL[2] included two photographs of Rivera, described him as 5'9" in height and weighing 180 pounds, and provided his father's home as his last known address. In addition, Olson "had done a little research" and learned that in 2011, Rivera had been "stopped driving a silver 2007 Chrysler Sebring with a wheelchair plate of EES 03, " a vehicle that was registered to Rivera's father.

¶4 The same evening he received the ATL, Olson saw the described vehicle "just a few houses away from the suspect location." He followed the vehicle hoping to "make a traffic stop, " but it pulled into the parking lot of a nearby convenience store before he could do so. Olson testified that the individual who got out of the vehicle, later identified as Sanchez, but whom Olson then believed to be Rivera, matched the description he had been given of Rivera: "[H]e was a Hispanic male, about 5'9["], medium build. He was wearing blue jeans, brown T-shirt and he had two sweatshirts on, white over a black one." In addition, Rivera was described as having "dark hair and facial hair, " like the person who got out of the car.

¶5 Olson parked his unmarked police vehicle "in front of [Sanchez's] car, " and Sanchez walked "away from [his own] car toward the [gas pumps and the] street, " leading Olson to believe he was trying to "get away." Olson testified,

I was in full uniform, walked up behind him and took him by the arm and told him I'm going to detain you, and that's when he kind of pulled away from me. When he did I saw that he had a gun in his right pocket of his sweatshirt.

Olson testified that the presence of a gun had caused him concern "[b]ecause [Rivera] had already shot someone and I'm by myself, I see a gun, I'm by myself, I have to try to detain him."

¶6 Olson then placed the individual he believed to be Rivera in handcuffs, confiscated the gun, and asked him if he was Rivera. Sanchez, who was not carrying any identification, told Olson he was Rivera's brother, Christian Sanchez. A records' check revealed that Sanchez had a suspended driver license. When Olson asked Sanchez "if he may be [a] prohibited [possessor], " Sanchez replied that he was. Olson arrested Sanchez for driving on a suspended license and notified him that, "pending further investigation on his prior convictions he may be charged with the prohibited possessor [offense] as well." Sanchez's father arrived a few minutes later with documents verifying Sanchez's identity, after which Sanchez was arrested on the weapons charge. The photographs of Rivera that had been attached to the ATL, along with Sanchez's booking photograph, were admitted in evidence at the suppression hearing.

¶7 In its ruling denying Sanchez's motion to suppress, the trial court quoted the following passage from Illinois v. Wardlow, 5 ...

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