STATE v. MICHAEL EDMONDS, SC 19389

Judicial District of Fairfield

 

      Criminal; Search and Seizure; Whether Record Adequate for Golding Review of Claim that Defendant Seized When Police Officer Commanded him to Stop; Whether Court Properly Found that Defendant not Seized Until Officers Conducted Patdown Search.  Police officers observed the defendant standing alone behind a Bridgeport sandwich shop.  As the officers entered the parking lot at the same time through the only two entrances into the parking lot, the defendant started to immediately walk away from them and was seen engaging in movements around his waistband as he walked.  When the officers exited their vehicles and approached the defendant, he yelled out “I didn’t rob anyone,” and kept saying he was embarrassed.  The police then conducted a patdown search of the defendant and discovered narcotics.  The defendant was convicted of possession of narcotics with intent to sell.  He appealed, claiming that the police did not have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity justifying his detention, and he argued that he was seized when the police officers exited their vehicles and approached him in the parking lot.  Alternatively, he argued that he was seized when one of the officers exited his vehicle and commanded him to stop.  In affirming the judgment of conviction, the Appellate Court (151 Conn. App. 763) declined to review the defendant's claim that he was seized when the officer commanded him to stop.  It found that the claim was unpreserved in that the defendant had not raised it before the trial court and that the defendant failed to provide an adequate record for appellate review of the unpreserved claim under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233 (1989).  Moreover, it agreed with the trial court's findings that the defendant's seizure occurred at the time of the patdown and that the totality of the circumstances raised a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity to justify the patdown.  It noted that the defendant was standing alone at dusk in the parking lot of the restaurant, which had been robbed previously and which was located in a high crime area, and that his actions and utterances in response to the police presence supported a reasonable suspicion that he was armed and dangerous.  In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly found that (1) the record was inadequate to review the defendant's claim that he was seized when the officer commanded him to stop, and (2) the defendant was not seized until the police officers conducted a patdown search of the defendant’s person.