This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Angela Cytherea Lampkins,
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K3984204
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Jeanne L. Schleh, Assistant Attorney General, Suite 315, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant Public Defender, Suite 600, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
Appellant Angela Cytherea Lampkins argues that the police search of her residence was based on a warrant not supported by probable cause, and therefore the cocaine discovered in her apartment should have been suppressed. The district court found there was sufficient probable cause and allowed the items seized in the search to be admitted at trial. We affirm.
Lampkins asserts that the search of her apartment was unlawful because it was predicated on information supplied by a confidential reliable informant (CRI), and this information failed to provide sufficient probable cause. The existence of probable cause is determined by a “totality of the circumstances” test:
The task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before him, including the “veracity” and “basis of knowledge” of persons supplying hearsay information, there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.
State v. Wiley, 366 N.W.2d 265, 268 (Minn. 1985) (quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 2332 (1983)).
The reviewing court’s task is limited to determining “whether the evidence viewed as a whole provided a ‘substantial basis’ for the Magistrate’s finding of probable cause.” Massachusetts v. Upton, 466 U.S. 727, 732-33, 104 S. Ct. 2085, 2088 (1984) (rejecting after-the-fact de novo review); see Gates, 462 U.S. at 238, 103 S. Ct. at 2332 (articulating issuing magistrate’s responsibility to decide whether the circumstances presented create fair probability that contraband or evidence will be discovered); see also Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 268 (cautioning courts not to review each component of affidavit in isolation from whole).
A Ramsey County deputy sheriff provided the affidavit supporting the application for the search warrant, based on information provided by a CRI. Lampkins focuses primarily on the veracity and basis of knowledge of the CRI. The deputy indicated that he had been with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department for the past 13 years and that, as a member of the narcotics unit, he had investigated and received substantial training in narcotics cases. The deputy indicated that the CRI had previously purchased cocaine from Lampkins at Lampkins’s apartment. The CRI’s statement against his/her own penal interest bolsters the CRI’s credibility. See State v. McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d 700, 704 (Minn. 1990) (noting the “fact that the statement was in some way against the informant’s interest is of some minimal relevance in a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis of probable cause.”).
The CRI provided the deputy with Lampkins’s address and telephone number, which the deputy independently corroborated. In Wiley, the supreme court noted that while verification of the defendant’s address did not constitute “corroboration of a key detail, the corroboration did lend credence to the informant’s tip.” 366 N.W.2d at 269; see McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d at 704 (stating “minimal corroboration is at least another relevant factor on which the magistrate was entitled to rely in making the totality-of-circumstances assessment.”); State v. Siegfried, 274 N.W.2d 113, 115 (Minn. 1978) (stating “the fact that police can corroborate part of the informer’s tip as truthful may suggest that the entire tip is reliable.”).
The deputy checked Lampkins’s criminal record and discovered that she had several felony convictions for theft and forgery. The fact that Lampkins has prior arrests merits at least slight probative value in determining probable cause. See McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d at 704 (noting defendant's prior entanglements with the law entitled to slight probative value for probable cause assessment).
The deputy stated in his supporting affidavit that the CRI has provided information to law enforcement in the past which has led to the arrest of felony narcotics violators. Lampkins questions the integrity of this information because the affidavit does not detail how many arrests or successful prosecutions resulted from the CRI’s tips. Despite Lampkins’s contention, a search warrant need not detail an informant’s record of reliability. In State v. Munson, 594 N.W.2d 128, 136 (Minn. 1999), a police officer performed a warrantless search of an automobile based on information provided by a CRI. The officer indicated that the CRI had given the police reliable information in the past. Id. The Minnesota Supreme Court held this statement supplied sufficient probable cause, noting that “[h]aving a proven track record is one of the primary indicia of an informant’s veracity.” Id. Importantly, the Munson court clarified that although there were no “specific details of the CRI’s record, further elaboration concerning the specifics of the CRI’s veracity is not typically required.” Id. (citing Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 269); see also Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure, § 3.3(b), at 110-11 (3ded. 1996) (discussing indicia of informant reliability). In Wiley, the police affidavit stated only that the informant in question had “‘been used over several years successfully.’” 366 N.W.2d at 269. Even though the supreme court expressed a preference for more specific language, it held that “[i]nterpreted in a practical, commonsense manner, this language indicates that the informant had provided accurate information to the police in the past” and that this “provided the magistrate with reason to credit the informant’s story.” Id. Here, the Deputy’s statement withstands probable-cause scrutiny.
Moreover, the deputy employed the CRI in a “controlled buy,” under the surveillance of law enforcement, to purchase cocaine from Lampkins’s apartment. Lampkins was not home at the time of the “buy.” Instead, her son, Leonard, made the sale. The “controlled buy” both bolsters the CRI’s credibility and supplies probable cause for the warrant.
In applying the totality of the circumstances test, “the reviewing court is not to review each component of the affidavit in isolation but is to view them together.” McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d at 703. The individual elements of the affidavit viewed together create a sufficient probability that cocaine would be discovered in Lampkins’s apartment.
Lampkins’s supplemental pro se brief addresses additional issues of witness testimony, trial strategies, and fact questions that were properly resolved by the jury. The additional concerns raised in Lampkins’s supplemental pro se brief go beyond the scope of this appeal and therefore are not addressed.
The district court properly concluded that the issuing magistrate had probable cause to issue the warrant and did not err in refusing to suppress the cocaine seized from Lampkins’s apartment.