[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals
Case No. 14CA72
for Petitioner: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General, L. Andrew
Cooper, Deputy Attorney General, Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Respondent: Megan A. Ring, Public Defender,
Britta Kruse, Senior Deputy Public Defender, Denver, Colorado
This case principally asks us to decide whether Brent
Berdahls federal and state constitutional rights were
violated when a law enforcement officer required him to
submit to a pat-down search before providing a consensual
ride in the officers police car. We now conclude that when
Berdahl accepted the officers offer of a courtesy ride in
the officers car and then submitted to a brief pat down for
weapons before getting into the car, he, by his conduct,
voluntarily consented to the officers limited pat-down
search, and therefore, the search was constitutional.
Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the division below.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Early one January morning, a Weld County sheriffs deputy was
dispatched to an intersection in Weld County to check on the
well-being of two people whose truck had broken down. About
one-half to three-quarters of a mile from the reported
location of the truck, he saw a man walking alongside the
roadway. The deputy activated his emergency lights and pulled
over, recognizing that the man was not dressed for the
freezing temperatures and that he looked "close to
hypothermic." The man, Berdahl, explained that his truck
had run out of gas earlier that
evening and that his significant other, J.P., was still in
the truck, which was up the road. The deputy asked for
identification, which Berdahl provided, and offered to let
Berdahl get in the back of the deputys patrol car to warm
up. Before allowing Berdahl to do so, however, the deputy
conducted a brief pat-down search for weapons.
The deputy then drove to where Berdahls truck had run out of
gas and asked J.P. if she wanted to get in the backseat of
his car to warm up. She said that she did. The record does
not reveal whether the deputy conducted a pat down of J.P.
before she entered the car.
Upon learning that the batteries in Berdahl and J.P.s mobile
phones had died, the deputy attempted to make arrangements
with several service stations in the area to see if they
could deliver fuel. They all refused, however, ...