This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed November 15, 2005
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K5-03-2180
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
the afternoon of June 18, 2003, appellant William Lee Samuels was arrested and
charged with second-degree controlled substance crime under Minn. Stat. §
152.022, subd. 2(1) (2002) (possession of one or more mixtures of cocaine
totaling six grams or more). Earlier in
the day, a confidential reliable informant (CRI) told Ramsey County Deputy
Sheriff Jay Maher that appellant would be driving in the area of
stopped after he appeared in his vehicle at the time and location predicted by
the CRI; he was arrested when police discovered 20.3 grams of cocaine inside
the steering wheel. Following an omnibus
hearing, the district court issued an order finding that police had probable
cause to search appellant’s vehicle.
Appellant was tried on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (
Appellant now contends that the district court erred in concluding that the CRI’s tip was sufficient to support probable cause to search his vehicle. Because the district court did not err in concluding that police had probable cause to search appellant’s vehicle, we affirm.
Both state and federal
constitutional law protect persons from unreasonable searches and
seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV.;
determine whether information provided by a CRI establishes probable cause by
considering the totality of the circumstances, particularly “the credibility
and veracity of the informant.” Munson, 594 N.W.2d at 136. An informant who has previously given
reliable information is presumed reliable, and if an informant is not presumed
reliable, police can establish reliability by corroborating information
provided by the informant. State v.
claims that the state failed to establish that the CRI was reliable and did not
sufficiently corroborate his information.
Because Deputy Maher testified that the CRI had previously given
reliable information to police on several occasions, the district court could
presume that the CRI was reliable.
Deputy Maher made the “simple statement” required by Ross that the CRI had provided reliable
information in the past. See id. at 304. Contrary to appellant’s suggestion that the officer
was required to establish that the CRI had provided information that led to
arrests or convictions of others,
this case, the state established the CRI’s reliability by evidence corroborating
the CRI’s tip before stopping appellant and searching his car. Appellant and his vehicle both matched the
descriptions given by the CRI, and appellant appeared at the exact location
where the CRI said he would be at the time the CRI said he would be there,
driving on a revoked license. The CRI
also stated that drugs could be found in the steering wheel of the vehicle, a
“unique location” for purposes of determining whether probable cause existed to
search appellant’s vehicle.
also contends that the information provided by the CRI was stale because it did
not pinpoint a date when the CRI knew that appellant had drugs in his
vehicle. Deputy Maher testified at the
omnibus hearing that the CRI stated that drugs could be found in appellant’s
steering wheel “routinely at any given time.”
Because the record includes evidence that the CRI was reliable, both as a person who had provided past reliable information to police, and as a person whose tip was corroborated, we conclude that the district court did not err in determining that there was probable cause to search appellant’s vehicle.
 Because we affirm on the probable cause to search issue and because the district court did not consider or decide whether the police had probable cause to arrest appellant, we decline to address this issue.