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United States v. Long

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 20, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
v.
COREY LONG Defendant.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Defendant Corey Long filed a Motion to Suppress on January 12, 2017. (ECF No. 31) Mr. Long seeks to suppress a handgun found on him when he was detained by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police on April 4, 2015. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion on February 28, 2017. On June 2, 2017, the Court issued a minute order granting the Motion to Suppress and indicating that it would issue a written order. (ECF No. 68) This written order follows granting the Motion to Suppress. assigned to the Cosmopolitan. They were both in uniform. They did not arrive together but were both in the private security area of the hotel.

         Shortly, after Yannis started his shift, he was approached by a hotel security officer. Yannis did not know this officer and had not previously worked with him. The Court does not find that Yannis or Delzer were aware of the training that security officers at the Cosmopolitan receive. Yannis had seen this particular security officer at the hotel previously. This officer asked Yannis to follow him quickly into the public casino area. The officer told Yannis that there had been some type of car accident in the hotel parking garage. Yannis and the security officer ran out of the private security area and into the public casino area. Delzer, having seen Yannis and the security officer run towards the casino, decided to go to the casino to provide support for Yannis and the security officer.

         Upon arriving in the casino area, the security officer identified two young men to Yannis-Long, and Hill. The security officer asked Yannis to detain these individuals. He told Yannis that they were seen near a car accident in the garage. Yannis then detained Long by grabbing his arm and putting his hand on his shoulder. Long was not free to leave at that time. Yannis told the two young men he was going to detain them. He then proceeded to forcefully direct both young men with his hands toward and then up against a wall. At this time. Lieutenant Delzer arrived at the scene. This was moments after Yannis had pushed the two young men toward the wall. Delzer then grabbed Long by his arms and pulled Long's arms behind Long's back. Yannis had by this time already handcuffed Hill and placed him against the wall. Delzer then handcuffed Long at the direction of Yannis. Yannis handed handcuffs to Delzer who placed them on Long's wrists. Long was then placed against the wall with his arms handcuffed behind him. At this same time, Hill was also in handcuffs and against the wall. Yannis then led Hill to the security area. For about a minute or so, Long was against the wall handcuffed and being physically restrained by Delzer after Hill had already been taken away from this area. There were two hotel security personnel and one other Metro officer present while Long was against the wall after Hill had been taken away. After about a minute against the wall, Delzer began to physically direct the handcuffed Long to the security area of the hotel. As Delzer did this, a handgun fell from the body of Long to the floor. Delzer then placed his foot on the handgun. He picked it up and continued escorting Long to the security area of the hotel. Long was never told that he was under arrest while in the casino area.

         The Court does not find that Delzer or Yannis witnessed any crime committed by Long or Hill. The Court does not find that they were told that Long or Hill had run from or fled the scene of the car accident. The Court does not find that they were told that Hill or Long were actually involved in a car accident in the garage. The Court does not find that Long or Hill engaged in any furtive movements with their hands for the few seconds before they were seized. The Court does not find that Long ignored requests to “not move” his hands or take his hands out of his pockets before he was placed in custody by Yannis. The Court finds that Long was completely compliant with Yannis' and Delzer's directions to him. Long was calm and never resisted the officers or security guards in any way. The Court does not find that Long or Hill engaged in any suspicious behavior. The Court does not find that Long or Hill engaged in any conduct that suggested that they were a threat to the safety of the officers or the safety of the public. Long and Hill were initially confronted and detained in a public area of the casino.

         The Court finds that Long was physically restrained within seconds of being identified by the hotel security officer as someone who was seen near a car accident in the garage. The Court does not find that Delzer or Yannis had been told specifically of any crime that Long had committed before Long was placed into custody. Neither Yannis or Delzer had seen Long or Hill prior to the two being identified by hotel security in the public casino area. Delzer only placed Long in custody because he was directed to do so by Yannis.

         III. Legal Standard

         An investigatory stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment “if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity ‘may be afoot.'” United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7 (1989) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968)). “Reasonable suspicion requires specific, articulable facts which, together with objective and reasonable inferences, form a basis for suspecting that a particular person is engaged in criminal conduct.” United States v. Thomas, 211 F.3d 1186, 1189 (9th Cir. 2000)(internal citations omitted).

         “There is no bright-line rule to determine when an investigatory stop becomes an arrest” and “in determining whether stops have turned into arrests, courts consider the totality of the circumstances.” Washington v. Lambert, 98 F.3d 1181, 1185 (9th Cir. 1996) (citations and internal quotations omitted). “The standard for determining whether a person is under arrest is not simply whether a person believes that he is free to leave.” United States v. Bravo, 295 F.3d 1002, 1009 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted). “[I]ntrusive measures may convert a stop into an arrest if the measures would cause a reasonable person to feel that he or she will not be free to leave after brief questioning-i.e., that indefinite custodial detention is inevitable.” United States v. Guzman-Padilla, 573 F.3d 865, 884 (9th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).

         IV. Analysis

         The Court finds that the United States has not established that the officers had a legal basis to detain Long. First, the Court finds that that officers did not have reasonable suspicion to detain Long for their initial investigatory stop of him. Second, the Court finds that the use of handcuffs on Long and his placement against the wall in conjunction with the other circumstances of the continued detention converted his detention into an arrest, and that the officers did not have probable cause to arrest Long. Finally, the officers' detention of Long led to the officers finding the handgun in this case. The handgun must therefore be suppressed.

         A. No Reasonable Suspicion

         The Court finds that the officers did not have specific articulable facts that Long had been engaged in or was currently engaged in criminal activity before he was detained by Yannis. Yannis had been told by the security guard for the Cosmopolitan that there had been a car accident in the garage before Yannis left with the guard to go to the casino area. Upon arriving in the casino area, Yannis was only told that Long had been seen near the car accident in the garage when identified by the security officer. Yannis was not told how long ago the accident had occurred. He was not told of Long's alleged connection, if any, to the accident other than having been spotted near it. He was not told Long's actual proximity in terms of time or distance to the accident. ...


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