The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellant.
Alexis Antonio Brown, Defendant-Appellee.
Interlocutory Appeal from the District Court. El Paso County
District Court Case No. 18CR4295. Honorable Jann P. DuBois,
Plaintiff-Appellant: Daniel H. May, District Attorney, Fourth
Judicial District, Austin Lux, Deputy District Attorney,
Doyle Baker, Senior Deputy District Attorney, Colorado
Defendant-Appellee: Megan A. Ring, Public Defender, Jeremy
Wooten, Deputy Public Defender, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
[¶1] While on patrol, a police officer heard
a man and woman arguing behind the gate of a storage
facility. When the officer called dispatch to report the
disturbance, he was informed that a call had just come in
regarding a possible domestic disturbance involving a man
named Alexis Brown at that same location. Seconds later, the
yelling stopped, and the officer saw a man walking away from
the storage facility; the man was the only visible person in
the area. The officer stopped the man and asked his name.
When the man gave his name as Alexis Brown, the officer
realized that it matched the name given for the possible
domestic disturbance. The officer then ran a records check on
Brown's name and found that there was an active warrant
for his arrest, at which point Brown was taken into custody;
a subsequent search revealed methamphetamine in his pocket.
[¶2] Brown was not charged for the domestic
disturbance, but he was charged based on the methamphetamine.
Prior to trial, the court concluded that the officer did not
have reasonable suspicion to initially stop Brown, and it
thus suppressed all evidence arising from the encounter. The
People filed this interlocutory appeal. We now reverse.
[¶3] We conclude that the officer had
reasonable articulable suspicion that Brown was involved in
an act of domestic violence. Hence, we reverse the trial
court's suppression order and remand for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
I. Facts and Procedural History
[¶4] Officer Fernandes was in his police
car, with the windows down, on patrol near a storage facility
in Colorado Springs. As he passed the storage facility, he
heard what he believed to be a man and woman yelling on the
other side of the facility's locked gate, but he could
not see the people. The officer contacted police dispatch to
advise them of this disturbance. Dispatch informed the
officer that they were currently receiving a call regarding a
possible domestic disturbance at his location; specifically,
a woman had called to report that her significant other,
Alexis Brown, had damaged the windshield of her car. When the
officer finished communicating with dispatch, the yelling had
stopped. At this time, the officer saw a man leaving the
area; the man was the only person the officer saw. The
officer contacted the man and asked him to identify himself.
The man identified himself as Alexis Brown and provided his
[¶5] The officer ran a records check on
Brown's name and birthdate, which indicated that there
was an active warrant for Brown's arrest. Another officer
arrived on the scene, took Brown into custody, and brought
him to jail. While Brown was being searched prior to being
put into the jail, methamphetamine was found in his pocket.
Ultimately, the prosecution did not bring charges regarding
the reported domestic disturbance, but it did charge Brown
with multiple crimes based on the methamphetamine found in
[¶6] Brown moved to suppress the evidence
arising from his encounter with the officer, including the
subsequent discovery of methamphetamine. He argued that the
police had no reason to stop him. The court granted his
motion, stating that " [t]here was no nexus between this
alleged criminal activity and the defendant that would have
justified an investigatory stop. There's no description
that was even given to the officer of an alleged individual
[who] had supposedly committed these acts."
[¶7] The People filed a timely ...