County District Court No. 12CR1091 Honorable Philip J.
Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Elizabeth Rohrbough,
Senior Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for
Trinh Almony, Alternate Defense Counsel, Broomfield,
Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant
1 Defendant, Brandon Deshawn Campbell, appeals his judgment
of conviction entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of
two counts of second degree burglary, one count of attempted
second degree burglary, and three counts of criminal
mischief. He contends that the trial court erred in denying
his motion to suppress global positioning system (GPS)
location data obtained via an ankle monitor he wore at the
time of his arrest. As a matter of first impression, we
conclude that Campbell did not have a reasonable expectation
of privacy in the GPS data under the United States or
Colorado Constitutions. Because we also perceive no grounds
for reversal with regard to Campbell's remaining
contentions, we affirm.
2 In late April 2012, the victim, J.P., called 911 to report
an intruder in his home. He provided the 911 dispatcher with
a description of the intruder and stated that he believed the
suspect had driven away in a white Ford Explorer.
3 Officers stopped a white Ford Explorer about ten minutes
later approximately three miles from the victim's home.
Campbell was the driver and only occupant of the vehicle.
Officers searched Campbell and found he was wearing an ankle
monitor. A detective later requested and received the GPS
data from the company owning the ankle monitor. The GPS data
revealed that, within the month before J.P.'s home was
broken into, Campbell had been at the location of two other
homes when they were burglarized. The GPS data also placed
Campbell at J.P.'s house at the time of the break-in.
Campbell was convicted of two counts of second degree
burglary, one count of attempted second degree burglary, and
three counts of criminal mischief.
4 On appeal, Campbell asserts that the trial court erred by
denying his motions (1) to suppress evidence obtained as a
result of a seizure and subsequent search of his person; (2)
to suppress the GPS data obtained from the ankle monitor; (3)
for a hearing to assess the admissibility of the GPS data;
and (4) to suppress J.P.'s show-up identification. We
disagree with all these contentions.
Motion to Suppress Fruit of Seizure and Search
5 Campbell contends that the trial court erred in denying his
motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an
illegal seizure and search of his person. He argues that the
officers' use of handcuffs and firearms transformed his
seizure into an arrest unsupported by probable cause. In the
alternative, Campbell asserts that, even if the officers'
use of force did not constitute an arrest, the officers
nonetheless lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct an
investigative detention. We conclude that the stop and
subsequent search were lawful.
6 Officer Dave Smidt responded to J.P.'s 911 call. He was
given the location of the alleged break-in and told that the
suspect was a black male driving "an older model SUV,
possibly a white Ford Explorer." Less than ten minutes
after the victim called 911, Officer Smidt saw a white Ford
Explorer driven by a black man in the area of the
victim's home. He pursued the vehicle. Officer Smidt
testified that he saw the vehicle turn rapidly without
signaling before it eventually pulled over. He recounted that
"it appeared the car was trying to get away from
7 After the vehicle stopped, Officer Smidt and another
officer who had arrived in a separate car conducted a
"felony traffic stop" ― they drew their
weapons and ordered Campbell to exit the car, put his hands
up, walk backwards toward them, and kneel so that he could be
placed in handcuffs. After conducting a pat-down of Campbell,
the officers discovered he had an outstanding arrest warrant.
He was then placed in the back of one of the police vehicles.
He later made incriminating statements that he sought to
suppress. Additionally, Campbell sought to suppress evidence
of the officers' discovery of the ankle monitor during
the pat-down search.
8 In a bench ruling on the motion to suppress, the trial
court stated in its findings of fact that Officer Smidt had
followed Campbell for "a number of blocks" during
which time "it looked like the driver was trying to get
away from him." The officer also observed Campbell
commit traffic violations, specifically "failure to
signal a turn" and potentially speeding by going
"faster than [was] prudent in a residential
neighborhood." The trial court concluded that the
officers had reasonable suspicion sufficient to stop
Campbell, and that reasonable suspicion ripened into probable
cause to arrest after J.P. identified Campbell as the
intruder in a one-on-one showup conducted shortly after he
was first stopped. As a result, the trial court denied
Campbell's motion to suppress.
Standajrd of Review
9 In reviewing a ruling on a motion to suppress, we defer to
a trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by
competent evidence in the record. People v. King, 16
P.3d 807, 812 (Colo. 2001). We review conclusions of law de
10 The United States and Colorado Constitutions protect
against unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const.
amends. IV, XIV; Colo. Const. art. II, § 7. A
warrantless arrest is reasonable when an officer has probable
cause to believe that a crime has been or is being committed.
Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 153 (2004).
Because probable cause is an objective inquiry, an
officer's subjective intent is irrelevant. See People
v. Cherry, 119 P.3d 1081, 1083 (Colo. 2005). Thus, it is
irrelevant if the offense that established probable cause is
unrelated to the offense actually charged by the arresting
11 "If an officer has probable cause to believe that an
individual has committed even a very minor criminal offense
in his presence, he may, without violating the Fourth
Amendment, arrest the offender." Atwater v. City of
Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318, 354 (2001) (holding that
officer had probable cause to make custodial arrest when he
observed woman driving without wearing a seatbelt, a criminal
violation under state traffic code); see People v.
Triantos, 55 P.3d 131, 134 (Colo. 2002); see
also § 16-3-102(1)(b), C.R.S. 2017 (authorizing a
peace officer to make an arrest when "[a]ny crime has
been or is being committed by [a] person in his
12 In the context of vehicle stops, "the decision to
stop an automobile is reasonable where the police have
probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has
occurred." Whren v. United States, 517 U.S.
806, 810 (1996); see also Cherry, 119 P.3d at 1083.
Although minor traffic infractions are classified as
"civil matter[s]" under Colorado statute, §
42-4-1701(1), C.R.S. 2017, an officer may constitutionally
stop a driver based on observation of even a minor traffic
infraction. See Cherry, 119 P.3d at 1084 (concluding
that officer's observation of defendant committing two
class B traffic infractions justified stop); see also
People v. Chavez-Barragan, 2016 CO 16, ¶ 10, 365
P.3d 981, 983 ("Suspicion of even a minor traffic
offense can provide the basis for a stop."); People
v. Altman, 938 P.2d 142, 145 (Colo. 1997) (concluding
that "troopers had a reasonable suspicion that criminal
activity had occurred or was occurring" when they
observed minor traffic infractions).
13 We conclude that the officers constitutionally stopped
Campbell on the basis of traffic violations witnessed by
Officer Smidt. Further, the officers had probable cause to
believe Campbell was committing the felony of vehicular
eluding, and therefore constitutionally arrested and searched
him. We can affirm "on different grounds than those
relied upon by the trial court" if those grounds are
supported by "undisputed facts in the record."
People v. Aarness, 150 P.3d 1271, 1277 (Colo. 2006),
as modified on denial of reh'g (Jan. 16, 2007).
Campbell has not disputed Officer Smidt's testimony with
regard to the observed traffic violations, and does not
assert on appeal that the trial court's findings of fact
on this point were clearly erroneous.
14 The parties initially limited their arguments to whether
the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop Campbell, which
was the basis for the trial court's denial of
Campbell's motion to suppress. We requested supplemental
briefing from both parties on the issue of whether the
violations observed by Officer Smidt gave rise to probable
cause to stop and arrest Campbell.
15 Officer Smidt testified that he observed Campbell turn
without signaling, a class A traffic infraction under
Colorado law. See § 42-4-903(2), (5), C.R.S.
2017. We conclude that Officer Smidt's observation of
this violation of the traffic code justified the initial
stop, regardless of whether the description communicated by
the dispatcher independently created reasonable suspicion
sufficient to stop the vehicle.
16 In their supplemental brief, the People further argue that
the officers had probable cause to believe that Campbell was
eluding the officers in violation of section 18-9-116.5(1),
C.R.S. 2017, a class 5 felony. The record supports this
contention. In its findings of fact, the trial court noted
that "it looked like the driver was trying to get away
from" the officer because the driver did not stop for
several blocks after the officer first activated his lights
and sirens. We therefore agree that "the facts and
information within the arresting officers' knowledge