Submitted: December 13, 2018
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Council Bluffs
LOKEN and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges, and MAGNUSON,  District
MAGNUSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
before 9:00 pm on May 21, 2017, Appellant Anthony Dean Miller
was a passenger in a pickup truck in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The truck, driving northbound on South 11th Street, passed a
Council Bluffs police officer driving in the opposite
direction on South 11th Street. At the suppression hearing,
the officer testified that he saw the truck leaving a home
that he was familiar with from his previous work with the
Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, and that he
was attempting to ascertain the truck's Texas license
plate number as he passed. The officer turned his squad car
around and followed the truck north on South 11th Street.
11th Street ends at a T intersection with South 16th Avenue.
There is a park directly across South 16th Avenue from South
11th Street, and a stop sign on South 11th Street. There is
no stop line for the sign, however. There is a sidewalk on
either side of South 11th Street; both of these sidewalks
continue across South 16th Avenue to the park. The sidewalk
on the west side of South 11th Street intersects with a
sidewalk on South 16th Avenue. This east-west sidewalk ends
at South 11th Street, but there is no marked pedestrian
crossing at South 11th Street, nor is there a continuation of
the sidewalk on the east side of South 11th Street.
officer stopped the vehicle after observing that the truck
stopped beyond the unmarked stop line for the stop sign at
the intersection of South 11th Street and South 16th Avenue.
At the suppression hearing, the officer also testified that
the truck did not use a turn signal until it was 40 or 50
feet away from the stop sign.
the officer smelled marijuana as he approached the truck, he
told the occupants that he was going to conduct a search.
Miller was removed from the vehicle and admitted to having a
weapon in his possession. In addition, Miller had a small
amount of methamphetamine concealed in a cigarette pack.
challenged the traffic stop and subsequent search. The
district courtupheld the constitutionality of the traffic
stop and denied Miller's request to suppress the evidence
entered a conditional plea of guilty to being a felon in
possession of a firearm, reserving the right to appeal the
district court's denial of his suppression motion. After
he was sentenced to 37 months' imprisonment, he brought
Court of Appeals reviews the district court's factual
findings for clear error and questions of constitutional law
de novo. United States v. Smith, 715 F.3d 1110, 1114
(8th Cir. 2013).
determinative question is whether the officer had probable
cause for the stop. A violation of traffic law, even a minor
violation, is sufficient probable cause to support a stop.
United States v. Fuse, 391 F.3d 924, 927 (8th Cir.
2004). Iowa law provides:
The driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection
indicated by a stop sign shall stop at the first opportunity
at either the clearly marked stop line or before entering the
crosswalk or before entering the intersection or at the point
nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view
of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before
entering the intersection.
Iowa Code § 321.322(1). Iowa law defines
"crosswalk" as the "portion of a roadway
ordinarily included within the prolongation or connection of
the lateral lines of sidewalks at intersections."
Id. § 321.1(16). The district court found that
the sidewalk on the west side of the intersection continued
across South 11th Street, and thus there was an ...