This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






State of Minnesota,





Todd Mitchell Longsdorf,



Filed April 24, 2001


Kalitowski, Judge


Washington County District Court

File No. K300414


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


Doug Johnson, Washington County Attorney, Richard D. Hodsdon, Assistant County Attorney, Washington County Government Center, 14949 62nd Street North, P.O. Box 6, Stillwater, MN 55082-0006 (for appellant)


Daniel S. Adkins, Richard Sand & Associates, P.A., 168 Nina Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)



            Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant State of Minnesota challenges the district court’s pretrial suppression of evidence and dismissal of drug charges against respondent Todd Mitchell Longsdorf.  We affirm.



            Respondent was a visitor in a residence that was searched pursuant to a search warrant.  When officers entered the residence, respondent was seated on the couch next to his coat.  The officers patted down respondent, who was not named in the search warrant, and no illegal contraband was found.  The officers then began searching the residence for controlled substances and other items listed in the warrant.  After the officers confirmed respondent had no outstanding arrest warrants, he was told he could leave.  Before respondent left, he asked if he could take his coat.  At that point, an officer picked up the coat, searched the pockets, and found a package of methamphetamine.  The district court suppressed evidence of the methamphetamine, leading to this appeal by the state.

This court will not overturn a pretrial order of the district court unless

the state demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that the [district] court erred in its judgment and that, unless reversed, the error will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial. 


State v. Robb, 605 N.W.2d 96, 99 (Minn. 2000) (quotation omitted).  When reviewing a state’s appeal from a pretrial order suppressing evidence, “we may independently review the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred in suppressing * * * the evidence.”  State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (Minn. 1999) (citing State v. Othoudt, 482 N.W.2d 218, 221 (Minn. 1992)).  It is undisputed that critical impact is demonstrated here because the district court dismissed the charges against respondent after suppressing all of the evidence.  State v. Holmes, 569 N.W.2d 181, 184 (Minn. 1997).  Because the facts are not in dispute, we need only determine if the district court erred as a matter of law in suppressing the evidence.  Robb, 605 N.W.2d at 99.

            Both the United States and Minnesota Constitutions protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.  U.S. Const. amend. IV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10.  “A search pursuant to a warrant may not exceed the scope of that warrant.”  State v. Wills, 524 N.W.2d 507, 509 (Minn. App. 1994), review denied (Minn. Feb. 14, 1995) (quotation omitted).  “The test for determining whether a search has exceeded the scope of the warrant is one of reasonableness.”  Id. (quotation omitted).  This court looks at the totality of the circumstances when determining whether the conduct of the officers executing the search warrant was reasonable.  Id.

A visitor to a residence during the execution of a warrant does not necessarily have a diminished expectation of privacy.  See Wills, 524 N.W.2d at 511 (noting that defendant, a part-time resident, had a lesser expectation of privacy than a visitor).  A search warrant that does not expressly permit a search of all persons present provides only the limited authority to detain, not search, individuals present during the execution of the warrant.  State v. Wynne, 552 N.W.2d 218, 222 (Minn. 1996).  The officers may conduct a limited patdown of parties not named in the search warrant if the Terry requirements are met.  State v. Burton, 556 N.W.2d 600, 601 (Minn. App. 1996) (authorizing a patdown if necessary for officer safety), review denied (Minn. Feb. 26, 1997).       

We conclude that the warrant here did not authorize a search of respondent’s coat.  Respondent was not named in the warrant, and he had possession of the coat when the officers entered the residence.  See Wynne, 552 N.W.2d at 222 (stating that officers have a right to detain visitors during the execution of a search warrant).  In addition, it is undisputed that the challenged search was not a limited patdown to assure officer safety.  See Burton, 556 N.W.2d at 601 (authorizing a limited patdown when officer safety is at issue). 

Appellant argues that the search was proper under the warrant because respondent’s coat was in the residence to be searched and therefore was a container that could conceal controlled substances.  We disagree.  Prior caselaw clearly establishes that some personal belongings are “so closely associated with the person that they are identified with and included within the concept of one’s person.”  United States v. Graham, 638 F. 2d 111, 114 (7th Cir. 1981) (stating that clothing pockets, purses, and shoulder bags are identified with one’s person); Wynne, 552 N.W.2d at 220 (citation omitted).  Here, the coat was not searched until after respondent was told he could leave and after he had identified the coat as belonging to him.  We conclude the district court properly determined that a search of respondent’s coat was a search of his person and not a search of a container.  See Wynne, 552 N.W.2d at 220 (finding that search of a purse being held constitutes a search of a person).    

We also reject appellant’s argument that the search of respondent’s coat was proper because the coat was no longer in his possession.  When the officers first entered the residence, respondent’s coat was next to him on the couch.  Respondent only moved away from his coat because the officers ordered him to.  Allowing officers to change the scope of the search warrant simply by moving guests or items to be searched within the residence was specifically criticized in WynneSee 552 N.W.2d at 220 (noting that the defendant’s purse did not become subject to search based solely on the officer bringing the purse into the residence).

Finally, appellant suggested at oral argument that New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, 101 S. Ct. 2860 (1981), compels a reversal of the district court’s order.  We disagree.  The search in Belton was a search incident to arrest.  Id. at 456, 101 S. Ct. at 2862.  Here, because respondent was not arrested, only a patdown was proper.  We conclude that the district court did not err in suppressing evidence obtained as a result of an improper search.