Submitted: September 21, 2017
from United States District Court for the Northern District
of Iowa - Cedar Rapids
SMITH, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.
Mosley, Katherine Pihl, and Lance Monden appeal the district
court'sdenial of their motions to suppress. Mosley
also appeals the district court's determination that he
qualifies as a career offender under the United States
Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G."). For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
20, 2016, at approximately 2:35 p.m., two individuals robbed
a bank in Palo, Iowa. The robbers were in the bank for about
a minute. As the robbers were leaving the bank, four
individuals in a truck driving by saw the robbers flee across
the grass but eventually lost sight of them. As the truck
circled around the block attempting to spot the robbers
again, one of the individuals in the truck ("the
witness") called the bank. After the bank received the
call from the witness, a bank employee called 911 and began
relaying information about the robbery, including information
the employee was getting from the witness on the other line.
Though the witness could not locate the robbers he initially
saw running from the bank, he reported that a gray/silver
Ford Taurus was in the vicinity of the bank and was the only
vehicle leaving the area in the moments after the robbery.
The witness followed the Taurus and gave its location and
direction of travel to the bank employee, who continued to
relay the information to 911 dispatch. When the witness got
close enough to see inside the gray Taurus, he reported that
he could only see one woman in the car, whereas he had seen
two men running from the bank. At this point, the witness
indicated that he was no longer sure if the gray Taurus was
involved in the bank robbery.
2:40 p.m., Deputy Uher received a radio dispatch that a gray
Ford Taurus may have been involved in a bank robbery and was
seen heading southbound on Highway 94 toward Cedar Rapids. A
few minutes later, he identified a vehicle matching the
color, make, and model given in the description, and the
vehicle was traveling in the direction indicated by the
witness. At about 2:44 p.m., Deputy Uher initiated a stop of
the Taurus approximately 5.8 miles from the bank and
approximately eight minutes after the robbery took place.
Uher ran the Taurus's license plate number and determined
that the car was registered to Farrah Franklin. As Deputy
Uher prepared to approach the driver, dispatch reported that
the witness was not sure if the Taurus was involved in the
robbery. Deputy Uher spoke with the driver, Katherine Pihl,
but did not see anyone else inside the car. Deputy Uher then
told Pihl she could leave, but before she could, another
officer suggested via radio that Deputy Uher obtain more
information from Pihl. At about 2:47 p.m., dispatch informed
Deputy Uher that they had spoken directly to the witness and
that he indicated he did not actually see the two robbers get
in the gray Taurus. Deputy Uher then told dispatch that he
was going to let Pihl go. Another deputy suggested that
Deputy Uher check the trunk. At approximately 2:48 p.m., Pihl
opened the trunk. Inside and about four minutes after Deputy
Uher initiated the stop, officers found Monden and Mosley,
along with cash and masks. Pihl, Monden, and Mosley were
Monden, and Mosley were indicted for bank robbery in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). All three filed
motions to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment. The
magistrate judge filed a report and recommendation concluding
that the district court should deny the motions to suppress.
Thereafter, Pihl, Monden, and Mosley pleaded guilty,
reserving their rights to appeal the denial of the
suppression motions. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(a)(2).
The district court accepted the report and recommendation and
denied the motions to suppress. At sentencing, the district
court found that Mosley qualified for a career offender
enhancement but varied downward after calculating his
guidelines range. On appeal, Pihl, Monden, and Mosley
challenge the denial of their suppression motions, and Mosley
challenges his sentence, claiming that he does not qualify as
a career offender.
review the denial of a motion to suppress de novo
but the underlying factual determinations for clear error,
giving due weight to inferences drawn by law enforcement
officials." United States v. Hurd, 785 F.3d
311, 314 (8th Cir. 2015). In their motions to suppress, the
appellants challenged the legality of the stop, the duration
of the stop, and the search of the trunk. We address each
issue in turn.
"The Fourth Amendment permits investigative traffic
stops when law enforcement has reasonable suspicion of
criminal activity." United States v.
Tamayo-Baez, 820 F.3d 308, 312 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing
Navarette v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 1687
(2014)). Reasonable suspicion "is considerably less than
proof of wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence, and
obviously less than is necessary for probable cause."
Navarette, 134 S.Ct. at 1687 (internal quotation
marks omitted). "Reasonable suspicion exists when an
officer is aware of particularized, objective facts which,
taken together with rational inferences from those facts,
reasonably warrant suspicion that a crime is being
committed." United States v. Givens, 763 F.3d
987, 989 (8th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Though an "inchoate hunch" does not equate to
reasonable suspicion, "the Fourth Amendment only
requires that police articulate some minimal, objective
justification for an investigatory stop."
Tamayo-Baez, 820 F.3d at 312. We assess whether a
law enforcement official had reasonable suspicion of criminal
activity based on the totality of the circumstances.
appellants claim that the district court erred in two ways
when finding that the vehicle stop was supported by
reasonable suspicion. First, they assert that because the
police officers in this case were unsure whether the gray
Taurus was involved in the bank robbery, they lacked
reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle matching that
description. Second, the appellants argue that the tip from
the witness was unreliable and therefore ...