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State v. Ford

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

July 22, 2014

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
MICHAEL FORD, Defendant/Appellant

Page 114

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 115

Appeal from the Circuit Court of City of St. Louis. Honorable Margaret M. Neill.

FOR APPELLANT: Lisa Stroup, St. Louis, Missouri.

FOR RESPONDENT: Mary Moore, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Lisa S. Van Amburg, Presiding Judge. Patricia L. Cohen, J., and Philip M. Hess, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 116

Lisa S. Van Amburg, Presiding Judge

INTRODUCTION

Michael Ford appeals the trial court's judgment of conviction of one count each of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.[1] Ford contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress physical evidence seized by police at the scene of his arrest and incriminating statements he made thereafter. This Court disagrees. In this case, the police officer questioned Ford before the officer completed the stated purpose of his initial investigatory stop, and Ford's evasive answers provided the officer with reasonable suspicion to continue detaining him.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The following facts, stated in the light most favorable to the verdict, are not in dispute.[2] On October 11, 2011, at approximately 2:00 in the morning, Officer Trevor Voss of the St. Louis County Police Department was on a " routine patrol" when he observed a white Chevrolet Malibu containing three occupants drive by his patrol car. The officer later testified that he began following the Malibu because it had no license plates and was in an area where " [s]tolen cars are a problem." While driving behind the Malibu, the officer observed a piece of paper in the rear window which he thought might have been a temporary tag. Officer Voss stated that he was not able to read the tag, however, due to poor street lighting and the tinted rear window of the Malibu. The officer later testified that a " common tactic . . . for people to steal vehicles is to just put something up there [in the window]." To investigate, Officer Voss activated the lights and siren of his patrol car, prompting the driver of the vehicle to pull over.

As the officer approached the vehicle on foot, he saw that the Malibu's temporary tag was from Illinois and that it was current. He wrote down the information on the tag and approached the driver's window. The officer informed the driver, Brishae Deal, of the reason for his stop and requested her identification. Deal told the officer she had recently bought the car and began searching her purse for identification. While Officer Voss waited for Deal to produce her information, he requested

Page 117

and received identification from the front seat passenger, Rayford Marion. Deal then informed the officer that she could not find her identification, but told him her identifying information, which he wrote down.

The officer next asked Ford, who was sitting in the back seat, for identification. Ford stated his name was " Kevin Ford" and quickly told Officer Voss his date of birth was " 1-95-64." The officer testified that he understood " there aren't 95 days in January," and later, " when [Ford] said January 95th, 1964," the officer had a " pretty good idea that he was lying to me," so he asked Ford to repeat his birthday. The second time Ford stated that his date of birth was " 1-5-1994." When asked a third time, Ford stated his date of birth was " 1-5-1991." Ford also claimed ignorance of his own social security number. At trial, the officer testified that Ford did not make eye contact and appeared nervous during this initial exchange. The officer testified that due to Ford's inconsistent answers he could " tell something [was] not right" because " everybody knows their date of birth." The officer also noticed a black leather purse on the seat next to Ford. The officer wrote down the information Ford gave and ...


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