STATE OF MICHIGAN

COURT OF APPEALS



					

					
					

					
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,            UNPUBLISHED
                                            September 21, 1999
          Plaintiff-Appellant,

v                                           No. 214551
                                            Muskegon Circuit Court
AARON LASHAWN STUCKEY,                      LC No. 98-038371 AR
a/k/a AARON LAWSHAWN STUCKEY,

          Defendant-Appellee.
_____________________________________________

Before: Cavanagh, P.J., and Hoekstra and Gage, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

     Defendant  was  charged  with possession of  less  than  25  grams  of
cocaine,  MCL  333.7403(2)(a)(v);  MSA 14.15(7403)(2)(a)(v).  The  district
court  excluded  the evidence as the fruit of an illegal  search,  and  the
circuit court affirmed the district court's decision. Plaintiff appeals  by
leave  granted  the  circuit  court's  order  excluding  the  evidence  and
dismissing  the  case.  We reverse, but for reasons  different  than  those
argued in plaintiff's brief

     The  parties  agree  on the essential facts. A police  officer  pulled
defendant  over when, after checking the license plate of the car defendant
was  driving, the officer discovered that the car belonged to a  woman  who
had  at  least two outstanding warrants. After the officer pulled defendant
over,  defendant got out of the car and walked toward the officer.  Because
defendant  was male, it was immediately obvious that he was not the  person
for whom the warrants had been issued. However, the officer discovered that
defendant  did not have a driver's license, arrested him, and searched  the
car.  In  the course of that search, the officer found a quantity of  crack
cocaine.

     The  district court and circuit court excluded the drugs and dismissed
the charges because the purpose of the stop was to find the woman named  in
the  warrants.  The lower courts reasoned that once the officer  determined
that  the  driver was not the person named on the outstanding warrants,  he
had no right to detain defendant any further. Consequently, they found that
the  request  for  defendant's  license  came  during  an  unconstitutional
seizure. For the reasons discussed below, we disagree.


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We  review  de  novo  the issue of whether a seizure was  reasonable  under
the Fourth Amendment. People v Bloxson, 205 Mich App 236, 245; 517 NW2d 563
(1994).

     The  legality  of  the  initial stop is not at issue  here.  Temporary
investigative  detentions  must be supported by a  reasonable,  articulable
suspicion  that  criminal activity may be afoot. People v  LoCicero,  After
Remand,  453 Mich 496, 501-504; 556 NW2d 498 (1996). "A valid investigatory
stop  must be justified at its inception and must be reasonably related  in
scope to the circumstances that justified interference by the police with a
person's  security."  People v Champion, 452 Mich  92,  98;  549  NW2d  849
(1996).  Knowledge  that  the  person who owned  the  car  had  outstanding
warrants justified the investigatory stop here.

     Furthermore, the search of the car was justified as a search  incident
to  an arrest. Under New York v Belton, 453 US 454; 101 S Ct 2860; 69 L  Ed
2d  768  (1981), a lawful custodial arrest of the driver or occupant  of  a
motor vehicle justifies a search of the vehicle incident to the arrest. See
People  v  Miller (On Remand), 128 Mich App 298, 305; 340 NW2d 858  (1983).
The  search  of a vehicle is valid even if the driver is no longer  in  the
vehicle  when it was searched and even if the arrest was for a misdemeanor.
People  v  Waddell,  132  Mich App 171; 347 NW2d 13 (1984).  Defendant  was
arrested  for  driving without a license. However, it  was  the  fact  that
defendant  did not have a driver's license that led to his arrest  and  the
subsequent search of the car. Defendant was not initially detained based on
any  suspicion  that  he  had committed a crime, so  the  question  becomes
whether  the officer had any basis on which to request defendant's license.
If  the  request  for the license was proper, then defendant's  arrest  was
proper, and the evidence was properly seized.

     Viewing  the totality of the circumstances, the officer's request  for
defendant's  license was reasonably related in scope to  the  circumstances
that  justified  the initial stop. Champion, supra. It was reasonable  that
the  officer request defendant's identification, knowing that the owner  of
the  car  was  a  female. Furthermore, it was reasonable that  the  officer
briefly question defendant to determine whether his use of the vehicle  was
authorized.  Finally,  it  was reasonable that the  officer  would  request
defendant's  identification before identifying the passenger.  Because  the
passenger  was a female, the passenger could have been the woman  for  whom
the  warrants had been issued. Nothing in the record suggests  that  during
the time defendant was detained the officer was not diligently pursuing  an
investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel his suspicions  quickly.
See  People  v  Chambers, 195 Mich App 118, 123; 489 NW2d 168  (1992).  The
scope of the detention was reasonable; thus, the arrest was not unlawful on
the  basis  that  it  resulted from an unlawful seizure. Consequently,  the
drugs were properly seized during a search incident to a valid arrest.

     Reversed. We do not retain jurisdiction.

                                                  /s/ Joel P. Hoekstra
                                                  /s/ Hilda R. Gage

                                    -2-

                             STATE OF MICHIGAN
                                     
                             COURT OF APPEALS
__________________________________________

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,             UNPUBLISHED
                                             September 21, 1999
          Plaintiff-Appellant,

v                                            No. 214551
                                             Muskegon Circuit Court
AARON LASHAWN STUCKEY, a/k/a                 LC No. 98-038371 AR
AARON LAWSHAWN STUCKEY,

          Defendant-Appellee.
_________________________________________

Before: Cavanagh, P.J., and Hoekstra and Gage, JJ.

CAVANAGH, P.J. (dissenting).

     I would affirm, as I would find no reasonable basis for the officer's
stop of the defendant's car.

     The majority concludes, "defendant was not initially detained based on
any suspicion that he had committed a crime." If that is so, I can see no
other reason to stop the car, based upon the police officer's observations
and knowledge that the driver, a male, was not the woman with an
outstanding felony warrant for whom he was looking.

     I would find the ruling of the circuit court to be appropriate, and
affirm.

                                             /s/ Mark J. Cavanagh

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