This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






State of Minnesota,


Rose Marie Rosario,


Filed November 21, 2000


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. K8992121


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


Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, Darla Jo Boggs, Certified Student Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)


Sharon Elizabeth Jacks, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Forsberg, Judge,* and Mulally, Judge.**

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge


            After a Lothenbach plea the district court found appellant Rose Marie Rosario guilty of fifth-degree violation of controlled substance law (possession of cocaine).  Rosario appeals alleging the district court erred in concluding that the affidavit supporting the search warrant was supported by sufficient facts.  Because the district court did not err in: (1) concluding there were sufficient facts supporting the search warrant’s affidavit; and (2) denying Rosario’s motion to suppress the cocaine, we affirm.



Rose Marie Rosario argues that the search of her apartment was unlawful because information supplied by a confidential reliable informant (CRI) failed to provide sufficient probable cause.  The existence of probable cause based on an informant’s tip is determined by a “totality of the circumstances” test:

The task of the issuing judge 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).  Great deference is given to the issuing judge’s determination of probable cause, and we will not subject that determination to a rigorous de novo review.  Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 268.  This court’s task is to determine “whether the evidence viewed as a whole provided a ‘substantial basis’ for the judge’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 Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 268 (cautioning courts “not to review each component of the affidavit in isolation from the whole”).  “[T]he resolution of doubtful or marginal cases should be ‘largely determined by the preference to be accorded warrants.’”  Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 268 (quoting Upton, 466 U.S. at 734, 104 S. Ct. at 2089).

            In determining whether a CRI’s information provides sufficient probable cause, the issuing judge must consider the CRI’s veracity and basis of knowledge.  State v. Souto, 578 N.W.2d 744, 750 (Minn. 1998); State v. Ward, 580 N.W.2d 67, 71 (Minn. App. 1998) (noting “informant’s veracity and basis of knowledge are considerations under totality-of-the-circumstances test”).  When making this determination, “[a]ll of the facts relating to the informant should be considered in weighing reliability.”  Souto, 578 N.W.2d at 750.

Rosario does not dispute the CRI’s veracity.  Instead, Rosario argues that the CRI did not have a sufficient basis of knowledge that she concealed cocaine in her apartment.  In assessing a CRI’s basis of knowledge, the issuing judge should consider (1) the “quantity and quality of detail in the CRI’s report,” and (2) “whether police independently verified the important details of the informant’s report.”  State v. Cook, 610 N.W.2d 664, 668 (Minn. App. 2000) (citing Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 331-32, 110 S. Ct. 2412, 2417 (1990)).  Under the totality-of-the-circumstances test, we will not view the CRI’s basis of knowledge in a hypertechnical fashion.  See, e.g., Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 269; State v. Quinn, 436 N.W.2d 758, 763 (Minn. 1989) (reviewing search warrants in a practical, commonsense manner).

Here, the deputy stated in his affidavit that:

during the past year the CRI has been present at 125 Colorado, 2nd floor apartment on numerous occasions and on these occasions the CRI has observed Rose trafficking in cocaine with various customers.  The CRI states the last time the CRI has observed Rose making cocaine sales from her residence was during the past 72 hours.


A CRI may establish his/her basis of knowledge through “first-hand information, such as when the CRI states that he * * * saw a suspect selling drugs to another.”  Cook, 610 N.W.2d at 668; Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 269 (articulating preference for “[r]ecent personal observation of incriminating conduct” as basis of informant’s knowledge); State v. McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d 700, 703 (Minn. 1990) (reasoning basis of knowledge requirement satisfied because informant saw cocaine when present in defendant’s house); see 2 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 3.3(d) at 140-43 (3ded. 1996) (recognizing basis of knowledge established where informant directly observes evidence of crime at a certain place).  By giving the deputy a first-hand account of cocaine trafficking in Rosario’s apartment, the CRI provided a textbook example of a basis of knowledge sufficient for probable cause.

The CRI also provided the deputy with Rosario’s address, a description of her vehicle and physical appearance, which the deputy independently verified.  Rosario argues that these details failed to establish the CRI’s basis of knowledge of drug trafficking.  Rosario relies heavily on this court’s recent decision in State v. Cook, 610 N.W.2d 664 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. July 25, 2000).  In Cook, a “CRI’s tip included a description of Cook’s clothing, physical appearance, vehicle, and present location.”  610 N.W.2d at 668.  Police independently corroborated that the vehicle described by the CRI was parked at the location indicated, and that a man matching the CRI’s description of Cook entered the passenger side of the vehicle.  Id.  Because this information was available to anyone and carried no indicia of inside information on Cook, we held the CRI’s basis of knowledge was insufficient to support probable cause.  Id. at 669.  

Cook differs from this case in one important respect.  In Cook, the CRI never claimed that he had seen Cook selling drugs.  610 N.W.2d at 668.  Here, the CRI indicated that over the previous year and during the past 72 hours, he/she had witnessed Rosario selling cocaine from her apartment.  As discussed above, a CRI’s first-hand observation of a suspect selling drugs provides a sufficient basis of knowledge for probable cause.  Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 269.  Cook is distinguishable from the case at bar. 

Rosario claims the deputy did not verify important details of the CRI’s report.  While verification of Rosario’s address or physical appearance may not constitute “corroboration of a key detail, the corroboration d[oes] lend credence to the informant’s tip.”  Wiley, 366 N.W.2d at 269; accord State v. Munson, 594 N.W.2d 128, 136 (Minn. 1999) (“The independent corroboration of even innocent details of an informant’s tip may support a finding of probable cause.”); McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d at 704 (“[M]inimal corroboration is at least another relevant factor on which the judge [i]s entitled to rely in making the totality-of-circumstances assessment”); State v. Siegfried, 274 N.W.2d 113, 115 (Minn. 1978) (“[T]he fact that police can corroborate part of the informer’s tip as truthful may suggest that the entire tip is reliable.”)  The deputy’s independent verification enhances the CRI’s basis of knowledge.

Moreover, while a CRI’s veracity and basis of knowledge are relevant to a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis, a deficiency in one may be compensated for by a strong showing as to the other, or by some other indicia of reliability.  Gates, 462 U.S. at 233, 103 S. Ct. at 2329.  Here, the deputy stated in his affidavit that “[t]he CRI has also given information to police which has resulted in the arrest and convictions of numerous felony narcotic traffickers and the recovery of control substances.”  See Munson, 594 N.W.2d at 136 (“Having a proven track record is one of the primary indicia of an informant’s veracity.”).  The CRI’s veracity compensates for any deficient basis of knowledge.

Under the totality of the circumstances, the issuing judge had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed to search Rosario’s apartment.  The district court did not err in refusing to suppress the cocaine.


* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

** Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.