FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. D. Brock Hornby, U.S. District Judge]
G. Lehman for appellant.
Renée M. Bunker, Assistant United States Attorney,
with whom Thomas E. Delahanty II, United States Attorney, was
on brief, for appellee.
Lynch, Thompson, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
BARRON, Circuit Judge.
P. Ramdihall appeals his conviction for conspiracy to commit
access-device fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1029(a)(1), (a)(3), and (b)(2), and 18 U.S.C. § 371. On
appeal, Ramdihall challenges the District Court's denial
of his pretrial motion to suppress evidence. We affirm.
along with his co-defendant, Jervis A. Hillaire, was indicted
in federal court in the District of Maine on February 25,
2014, for conspiracy to possess and use counterfeit access
devices with intent to defraud, as well as for five related
counts. See 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(1), (a)(3), and (b)(2);
id. § 371. Before their trial on those counts in federal
court, Hillaire and Ramdihall submitted motions to the
District Court to suppress evidence and statements that had
been obtained in the previous months in connection with three
traffic stops: a September 6, 2013 stop in Kittery, Maine; an
October 10, 2013 stop in Ohio; and a January 24, 2014 stop in
two-day suppression hearing, the District Court issued an
oral order denying the motions to suppress. Ramdihall then
conditionally pled guilty to conspiracy to possess and use
counterfeit access devices in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1029(a)(1) and (a)(3), preserving his right to challenge the
District Court's ruling on his motion to
suppress. He was sentenced to 10 months'
imprisonment and three years' supervised release. He was
also ordered to pay $17, 987.56 in restitution.
appeal, Ramdihall challenges the District Court's denial
of his motion to suppress in connection with any evidence and
statements obtained from only two of the stops: the September
6, 2013 stop in Kittery, Maine, and the October 10, 2013 stop
in Ohio. We address his challenges concerning each stop in
begin with Ramdihall's challenge to the denial of his
motion to suppress concerning the September 6, 2013 stop in
Kittery, Maine. Ramdihall contends that the police, in the
course of this encounter, effected a seizure within the
meaning of the Fourth Amendment, even though the police
lacked the constitutionally required basis for doing so.
Accordingly, he contends that the fruits of that unlawful
seizure, including evidence obtained from the search of the
trunk of the vehicle he was driving, must be suppressed.
is no dispute that a seizure did occur at some point. Nor is
there any dispute that, in light of the investigative nature
of that seizure, the government could effect it so long as
the government had reasonable suspicion that criminal
activity was afoot. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1,
21-22 (1968) (holding warrantless investigative stops
constitutionally permissible where law enforcement officer
can "point to specific and articulable facts which,
taken together with rational inferences from those facts,
reasonably warrant that intrusion"); United States
v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 880-81 (1975)
(extending Terry to vehicle searches). So, the key questions
are whether the police had such suspicion at the time of the
initial seizure and whether the police continued to have a
lawful basis for effecting the seizure as it persisted. For,
if the police did, then the seizure was lawful and there
would be no illegal fruits to suppress.
start by describing the facts relevant to the suppression
ruling at some length, taking them from the District
Court's uncontested findings and the officers'
testimony from the suppression hearing. See United States
v. Campa, 234 F.3d 733, 737 (1st Cir. 2000) (explaining
that we "uphold a district court's decision to deny
a suppression motion if the decision is supported by any
reasonable view of the evidence"). We then consider the
basis for the initial seizure, before turning to consider the
basis for it as it continued. Finally, we address
Ramdihall's additional contention that, even if the
seizure was lawful, the District Court erred in refusing to
suppress the evidence obtained from the search of the
car's trunk, as Ramdihall contends that the District
Court erred in concluding that Ramdihall voluntarily
consented to that search.
facts concerning the Kittery traffic stop are as follows. At
approximately 1:30 a.m. on September 6, 2013, John Brosnihan,
a patrol officer for the Kittery Police Department, was
sitting in a parked, marked police car near a 7-Eleven in
Kittery, when a 7-Eleven employee approached. The employee
told Brosnihan that he was concerned about people in the
7-Eleven who were buying thousands of dollars' worth of
gift cards with other gift cards. The employee identified the
car in the parking lot that belonged to the people buying the
response, Brosnihan contacted police dispatch and requested
that dispatch run the plate number of that car. He then
approached the passenger's side of the car, using his
flashlight to look inside. Inside the car were Ramdihall, in
the driver's seat, and Hillaire, in the passenger's
seat. A second officer arrived on the scene shortly
asked Hillaire if a woman whom Brosnihan could see inside the
7-Eleven and whom he pointed out to Hillaire was with
Hillaire. Hillaire said that the woman was with him.
Brosnihan then asked if Hillaire knew what the woman was
doing inside the 7-Eleven, and Hillaire said he did not know.
Brosnihan then asked, more specifically, if Hillaire
"knew anything about gift cards, buying gift cards with
gift cards, " and Hillaire denied that he knew anything
about using gift cards to buy gift cards. Brosnihan saw some
electronic devices in boxes in the car located at
Hillaire's feet. Brosnihan then went around the car and
approached Ramdihall, who was in the driver's seat, and
asked what he was doing at the 7-Eleven.
said that he had stopped to get gas. He could not explain,
however, why he had not yet gotten gas and why the car was
not stopped at a gas pump. Ramdihall, too, denied knowing
anything about the gift cards when Brosnihan asked him about
then asked for identification from both Ramdihall and
Hillaire. Ramdihall produced a New York driver's license.
Hillaire produced a "California ID."
asked to whom the car -- which had Tennessee plates --
belonged. Hillaire stated that the car was a rental that he
had received as a birthday gift from his cousin. Hillaire
also stated that he was a
"co-renter." At some point, Brosnihan saw the rental
agreement and learned that neither Hillaire's name nor
Ramdihall's name was on the rental agreement. The record
is not clear, however, as to precisely when Brosnihan saw the
the woman inside the 7-Eleven -- later identified as Vegilia
O'Connor -- exited to return to the car, Brosnihan
stopped her to ask about the gift card purchases.
O'Connor explained to Brosnihan that she had received the
gift cards that she was using to purchase gift cards from a
friend so that she could go school shopping for her kids, and
that she was using the gift cards to buy new gift cards
because the ones that she had sometimes did not work. She
also stated that she had left New York around 4:00 p.m. that
same day to travel to Maine to shop. However, she could not
explain why she had left so late that she would arrive in
Maine at a time when stores were closed. She said they had
been shopping at "some outlets" that she could not
name, and she said that those outlets were about 30 minutes
then questioned Hillaire and Ramdihall separately, outside of
the car. Both said they were in Maine to shop, but neither
could name the stores at which they had been shopping.
Hillaire said they had shopped for an Apple laptop in
Brunswick, Maine, which he said was a 40-minute drive from
Kittery. Ramdihall could not say where they had shopped, but
he said the place they had shopped was about 15 minutes away
at 1:45 a.m., Brosnihan's supervisor, Sergeant Gary
Eaton, arrived on the scene. About ten minutes later, at 1:55
a.m., a detective was called to the scene, due to the
officers' unfamiliarity with how to handle an
investigation into possible fraud, which Brosnihan had begun
to suspect might be afoot in consequence of the evidence
concerning gift card purchases. At that point, Eaton made the
internal decision that the three individuals would not be
allowed to leave until the detective that had been called had
officers then asked each individual about what, if anything,
was in the trunk of the car. Originally, each said there was
nothing in the trunk. Later, Hillaire and O'Connor each
said there was a laptop computer in the trunk, but each said
that it belonged to the other. O'Connor overheard
Hillaire tell Brosnihan that the laptop computer belonged to
her, and interjected to deny that it belonged to her.
then asked Ramdihall again what was in the trunk. Ramdihall
said he did not know. According to Brosnihan's testimony
at the suppression hearing, Brosnihan asked, "[D]o you
mind if I take a look?, " and Ramdihall responded,
"[B]e my guest." Brosnihan then said, "[A]re
you sure?, " to which Ramdihall again responded,
"[B]e my guest."
the trunk was, among other things, "a lot of computer
equipment, " including MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iPads,
and iPad Minis. Hillaire said that one of the MacBook
computers belonged to him. When Brosnihan asked to see a
receipt for the computer, Hillaire initially said he had an
e-mail receipt on his cell phone but did not want to show it
to Brosnihan. Later, Hillaire claimed to have thrown away the
receipt. Brosnihan asked the three individuals multiple times
to whom the other equipment belonged. No one claimed
ownership of any of the other items. At that point, Brosnihan
seized the items and then let the three individuals go.
the encounter, other law enforcement officers came and went
as well. The District Court found, and the parties do not
contest, that there were three police officers on the scene
as of 1:45 a.m., two more by 2:32 a.m., and six in total by
2:42 a.m. The District Court also found that, throughout the
encounter, "[t]here were never ...