Submitted October 25, 2013.
Petition for certiorari filed at, 05/22/2014
Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Cedar Rapids.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Dan Chatham, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.
David Wayne Holleman, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Taft, CA.
For David Wayne Holleman, Defendant - Appellant: Dean Alan Stowers, STOWERS & SARCONE, West Des Moines, IA.
Before BYE, SMITH, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
BYE, Circuit Judge.
David Holleman entered a conditional plea of guilty to possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, reserving the right to appeal the district court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence found in Holleman's vehicle while it was parked in a hotel parking lot. Holleman also sought to suppress incriminating statements he made to police officers before they searched his vehicle. In this appeal, Holleman claims the officers violated his constitutional rights on a number of grounds. Finding no constitutional violations, we affirm.
On May 8, 2012, Holleman was driving a white Chevrolet truck on Interstate 80 through Iowa. An Iowa State Patrol trooper
observed Holleman traveling at seventy-three miles per hour (in excess of the posted speed limit of seventy miles per hour) and following too closely behind another vehicle. The trooper initiated a routine traffic stop to issue Holleman a warning ticket. While questioning Holleman during the course of the traffic stop, the trooper became suspicious of Holleman's behavior. For example, Holleman opened the passenger-side window of the truck just one inch when the trooper approached the truck, refused to roll the window down any farther at the trooper's request, and slid his license, registration and insurance card through the one-inch opening in the window.
Approximately seven minutes into the traffic stop, the trooper asked Holleman for permission to search the truck and to walk a drug dog around the truck. Holleman declined to give permission. The trooper nonetheless deployed his drug dog while Holleman waited in the patrol car. The trooper's drug dog did not successfully sniff the truck, however, because it was distracted by the smell of a dead animal in the ditch. The trooper then issued a warning ticket to Holleman and told him he was free to leave.
Feeling as if the traffic stop did not " go the way a normal traffic stop should go," the trooper called ahead to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force officer and described Holleman's truck and travel route. The DEA officer located Holleman's truck and followed the truck until Holleman parked in a hotel parking lot. The DEA officer then called local law enforcement and located an officer with a drug dog.
While Holleman's truck was parked in the hotel parking lot, a local law enforcement officer deployed his drug dog, Henri, to sniff Holleman's truck. The handling officer first directed Henri to conduct a " free air sniff" of several vehicles located in another part of the parking lot. In all, Henri sniffed four vehicles before reaching Holleman's truck. Henri did not alert, indicate, or otherwise change his behavior when sniffing the first four vehicles. When Henri finally reached the passenger side of Holleman's truck, however, he " stop[ped] dead in his tracks and be[gan] to really detail the area between the bed of the truck and the cab of the truck." The handling officer characterized Henri's reaction as an " alert." The officer then pulled Henri away from Holleman's truck and directed him to sniff the vehicle parked next to Holleman's truck. Henri did not alert, indicate, or otherwise change his behavior while sniffing that vehicle. The handling officer then took Henri back to Holleman's truck and directed him to sniff the truck again. On this second sniff, Henri " stopped and detailed the same area as the first time." Based on Henri's two alerts to Holleman's truck, law enforcement obtained a search warrant. While executing the search warrant, officers found approximately 250 pounds of marijuana hidden inside two arc welders located in the bed of the truck.
While some officers obtained the search warrant, Holleman waited in the parking lot with other officers. During the wait, an officer engaged Holleman in conversation, asking him if the arc welder units in the bed of the truck were his. Holleman replied affirmatively. When the officer asked Holleman where he purchased the welders and for what price, ...