This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).







State of Minnesota,





DeAndre Denell LaSane,




Filed August 8, 2000


Amundson, Judge


Hubbard County District Court
File No. K399483


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Gregory D. Larson, Hubbard County Attorney, P.O. Box 486, Park Rapids, MN 56470 (for appellant)


John D. Stuart, State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414; and


Mark D. Nyvold, 46 East Fourth Street, Suite 1030, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)



            Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N




            The state challenges a pretrial order suppressing evidence and dismissing a charge of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person.  The state argues that the district court clearly erred in finding that the police did not have grounds to conduct a felony stop of respondent’s vehicle.  The vehicle matched the description of a vehicle under surveillance by a drug task force and was also observed both crossing the fog line and making a turn without signaling.  The state also argues that the court clearly erred in suppressing the evidence seized from the car pursuant to a search warrant signed by a judge from a different county.  We affirm.


            On July 30, 1999, Deputy Troy Christenson was on patrol in Hubbard County where he observed a van with three men inside.  Deputy Christenson believed the van was under surveillance by the drug task force.  After retrieving the license plate number, he called a task-force agent, who confirmed that the van was under surveillance, after an anonymous tip suggesting involvement in drug trafficking.  Deputy Christenson then observed the van cross over the fog line twice and execute a turn without proper signaling.  Stopping the vehicle, the deputy approached it and asked the driver’s name and date of birth.  Identifying himself as DaShawn Lecy, he gave a date of birth.  The information given by the driver came back as not on file, so Deputy Christenson again asked the driver for his name. This time, the driver reported his name as DaShawn McFerson, giving the same date of birth; and this name too came up as not on file.   The driver was then asked for his social-security number; he responded that he did not have one.

            During this exchange, Deputy Christenson asked the driver to put his hands outside the window.  Although the driver initially complied, he repeatedly put his hands back inside the car. The van’s passengers were frequently changing seats.  Deputy Christenson told the driver to instruct his passengers to sit still and place their hands outside the vehicle as well. The driver replied that the passengers’ car windows did not work.  The deputy then called for assistance from a Cass County deputy.  He then ordered all of the occupants out of the car.  When Deputy Christenson looked inside the vehicle, he observed what he believed to be marijuana leaves and seeds on the rear passenger floor.  The deputy had the car secured and towed to Beltrami County.  

            The vehicle’s passengers were released as soon as they were identified.  The driver, later identified as DeAndre Denell LaSane, the respondent here, was arrested for two misdemeanor offenses.  He was detained because he could not be positively identified.

            After a K-9 dog gave positive indication that the vehicle contained controlled substances, a search warrant was obtained and executed. Deputy Christenson, a Hubbard County deputy, applied for and was issued a search warrant in Beltrami County.  The search of the vehicle turned up a loaded handgun and illicit fireworks.    LaSane had no permit for the pistol and subsequent review of his criminal record revealed two convictions for carrying a weapon without a permit. 

            LaSane was charged with three offenses; carrying a weapon without a permit in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1 (1998); possession of fireworks in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.21 (1998) and Minn. Stat. § 624.25(3) (1998); and giving a peace officer a false name in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.506, subd. 1 (1998).  LaSane moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the deputy who stopped his vehicle did not have a “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity.  LaSane also moved to suppress any evidence taken as a result of the search and seizure because such evidence was seized in violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.  The district court granted LaSane’s motion to dismiss.  This appeal followed.


Normally, on a pretrial appeal from an order suppressing evidence in a criminal prosecution, the state must establish clear error by the district court and demonstrate that the error will have a critical impact on the trial.  State v. Othoudt, 482 N.W.2d 218, 221 (Minn. 1992).  Obviously, the district court’s grant of LaSane’s motion to dismiss has a critical impact on trial.  But where the facts are not in dispute, and the district court’s decision centers on a question of law, this court scrutinizes the facts independently and determines, as a matter of law, whether the evidence need be suppressed.  Id.  Our examination therefore centers on the propriety of the detention. search warrant, and subsequent search of the vehicle. 

            The parties also do not dispute that the deputy had reasonable grounds to stop the vehicle.  The deputy observed the vehicle speeding, crossing the fog line on two occasions, and making a turn without using a turn signal.  However, the parties do dispute the propriety of the deputy’s detention of LaSane and search of his vehicle.  LaSane argues that the deputy should have simply issued a citation and allowed LaSane to leave.


A police officer may arrest a person without a warrant when a misdemeanor has been committed or attempted in the officer’s presence.  Minn. Stat. § 629.34, subd. 1(c)(1) (1998).  Generally, peace officers merely issue citations to persons arrested for misdemeanors, unless it appears that (1) arrest or detention is necessary to prevent bodily harm to the suspect or another or to prevent further criminal conduct; or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the accused will fail to respond to a citation.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 6.01, subd. 1(1)(a). 

            Here, the district court found no testimony indicated that LaSane was a danger to anyone, that he would engage in other criminal acts, or that he would not respond to the citation.  If the deputy commenced the stop, even in part, because the vehicle matched the description of a vehicle allegedly involved in drug trafficking, or because there was also evidence that LaSane may have been engaged in other criminal acts, then detention would have been proper.  However, the district court correctly found these reasons to be insufficient to support the deputy’s detention of LaSane because there was no evidence at the omnibus hearing indicating that the anonymous tip (regarding the vehicle’s drug involvement) was reliable.

 When a police officer acts on an informant’s tip, the first step in the constitutionality of the officer’s actions is to determine whether the record demonstrates the informant’s tip was credible.  State v. Hjelmstad, 535 N.W.2d 663, 666 (Minn. App. 1995).  Here, there is no evidence from which the veracity of the anonymous tip could be established.   Indeed, the facts presented materially differed from the facts alleged by the informant.   The anonymous caller said the vehicle would be travelling on June 24, 1999, to Cass Lake.  But this vehicle was travelling to Bemidji on June 30, 1999.  The information provided by the anonymous informant could not buttress the deputy’s detention of LaSane.

            The state also argues that detention was proper because LaSane gave the deputy two false names.  The use of false names, however, was not confirmed until after the arrest.  Prior to the arrest, LaSane’s only infraction was failure to produce a driver’s license or name that could be verified by the deputy, “the inability of a minor traffic violator to produce a driver’s license is not a reasonable basis to require the driver to sit in the back of a squad car.”  In re Welfare of M.D.B., 601 N.W.2d 214, 216 (Minn. App. 1999) (citing State v. Varnado, 582 N.W.2d 886, 891 (Minn. 1998), review denied (Minn. Jan 18, 2000). 

            The state further argues that the detention was proper because LaSane failed to comply with the deputy’s directions to place his hands outside of the window of the vehicle.  Additionally, the state notes that the van’s passengers were frequently changing seats inside the vehicle and failed to comply with the deputy’s request that they also place their hands outside the car windows.  Certainly, once a vehicle has been stopped an officer may, for safety reasons, order the occupants of the vehicle to exit.  State v. Gilchrist, 299 N.W.2d 913, 916 (Minn. 1980).  But Deputy Christenson testified that he was not physically threatened by anyone in the vehicle, but merely frustrated that they did not cooperate.  

II.  Search Warrant

            Even if LaSane’s detention was proper, the district court correctly granted his motion to dismiss because the search warrant was invalid. Minn. Stat. § 626.11 (1998) requires that a search warrant be issued to and executed by a peace officer of the issuing magistrate’s county.  State v. Lunsford, 507 N.W.2d 239, 242-243 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied (Minn. Dec. 14, 1993). In this case, the search warrant was issued by a Beltrami County judge to a Hubbard County deputy.  The parties agree that, on this basis, the warrant was improperly issued.  A statutory violation supports exclusion of the resulting evidence where a constitutional violation is involved.  Lunsford, 507 N.W.2d at 243.  Here, LaSane’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated. Thus, this search warrant was improperly issued, and the evidence recovered pursuant to the warrant was properly excluded and charges properly dismissed.

III.  Search

A search incident to a minor traffic violation is only proper where (1) the driver is known by the police to be habitually armed or have a record of assaultive behavior; (2) the driver assumes a hostile attitude when stopped; or (3) after the traffic stop and by cursory observation and without a search, the officer reasonably believes the driver is engaged in a more serious type of crime.  State v. Curtis, 290 Minn. 429, 437, 190 N.W.2d 631, 636 (1971).  Once the passengers and driver exited the vehicle, they cooperated with the deputy’s instructions.  There was no evidence that LaSane became hostile or threatening or that he was a known criminal.  Again, there was no basis to believe that LaSane would pose a danger to anyone.

Deputy Christenson testified he observed what he believed to be marijuana leaves and seeds on the back floor of the vehicle. This cursory observation could have reasonably led him to believe that LaSane was engaged in a more serious type of crime.  The district court, however, found no evidence adduced indicated any additional serious criminal activity.  Accordingly, LaSane’s detention was improper and the district court’s dismissal of the charges against LaSane was not clearly erroneous.