This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed August 23, 2005
Itasca County District Court
File No. K2-03-2032
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Willis, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.
Because the officers, who were attempting to execute an arrest warrant, not only had a reasonable belief but also had probable cause to believe that appellant was inside the trailer, we affirm.
court reviews the district court’s findings of fact concerning a suppression
order for clear error, but reviews the issue of probable cause de novo. State
officer armed with an arrest warrant has limited authority to enter the
suspect’s home to make an arrest if the officer has “reason to believe the
suspect is within.” Payton v.
cause” means that there is a “fair probability” based on a totality of
circumstances that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a
particular place. State v. Papadakis, 643 N.W.2d 349, 356 (
Here, the officers relied on the following facts and circumstances:
(1) an anonymous citizen approached Itasca County Deputy Sheriff Darin Shevich and asked him check whether certain boats and cars located at the Sherman property were stolen, and told Shevich that appellant lived in a trailer on the Egan property;
(2) although a check of cars and boats at the
(3) Shevich was acquainted with appellant and thought he knew what appellant looked like;
(4) Shevich and Leech Lake Tribal Conservation Officer Michael Fairbanks went to the Egan property where they saw a trailer;
(5) Shevich saw a man who he thought was appellant run when the two officers approached;
(6) the man disappeared around the trailer and could not be seen by the officers; the door to the trailer was on the side of the trailer away from the direction of the officers’ approach;
(7) when Shevich asked Karen Egan, appellant’s girlfriend, if appellant was in the trailer, she did not deny that the person seen was appellant, but asked instead if the officers had checked another residence on the property;
(8) Shevich knew there was an outstanding arrest warrant for appellant and that this would make it likely that appellant would flee from the officers;
(9) Egan attempted to lead the officers away from the trailer, although it was clear that appellant could not be at the other residence, as she suggested; and
(10) Egan began screaming and attempting to block the door of the trailer when Shevich approached it and had to be subdued by the officers.
Under these facts and circumstances, we conclude that the officers could form an honest and strong suspicion that appellant was in the trailer. Although the officers may not have had probable cause to believe they would find appellant in the trailer when they first entered the Egan property, the subsequent events, particularly the flight of the man Shevich identified as appellant and Egan’s evasive or obstructive behavior, would permit the officers to infer that appellant was in the trailer.
The district court’s findings of fact are supported by the record and are not clearly erroneous. If we were to apply the heightened standard of probable cause, rather than a reason to believe, we would conclude that the officers, who were armed with an arrest warrant, had probable cause based on a totality of the circumstances to believe that appellant was in the trailer, and therefore were entitled to make a warrantless entry into the trailer to execute the arrest warrant. The district court did not err by refusing to suppress the evidence.
The state has moved to strike essentially all of appellant’s reply brief. In light of our decision here, we deny the state’s motion.
Affirmed; motion denied.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.