This opinion will be unpublished and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 1, 2005
Goodhue County District Court
File No. K6-04-1849
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Considered and decided by Dietzen, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
reviewing a pretrial order suppressing evidence, appellate courts review the
facts independently and “determine whether the district court erred in
suppressing the evidence as a matter of law.”
State v. Fort, 660 N.W.2d 415,
federal and state constitutions prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures of
“persons, houses, papers and effects.”
occurs when police officers “restrain a suspect’s liberty of movement.” State
v. Lohnes, 344 N.W.2d 605, 610 (
line exists between an arrest and an investigative detention. State
The state insists that the officer here acted reasonably and diligently in his initial investigation of this petty misdemeanor drug paraphernalia case, which began after the officer observed a glass pipe on the center console of respondent’s vehicle, which was parked in the casino parking lot. With the assistance of casino security, the officer detained respondent and his companion, who were found in the casino, placed them in separate detention rooms, and began to question them. The state insists that once respondent’s companion voluntarily handed casino security a “green leafy substance” suspected to be marijuana, and once respondent began acting suspiciously in the detention room, the officer was justified in asking respondent for consent to search his person. These additional observations, however, were not made until several minutes had passed and after respondent had repeatedly asked for permission to leave, during which time the officer continued to question him about whether there were drugs in his vehicle.
After reviewing the surveillance tape of respondent’s detention, the district court determined that the officer was not conducting an investigatory detention and that respondent was under “full custodial arrest” when the officer placed him in the detention room. In particular, the district court noted that the room had one door, that respondent was watched by the officer or by casino security at all times, and that respondent repeatedly asked if he could leave. Under these circumstances, the district court did not err in concluding that a reasonable person would have believed that he was under arrest and not free to leave.
incident to an arrest is valid only if the crime committed is one for which a
custodial arrest is authorized. State v. Varnado, 582 N.W.2d 886, 892 (
district court determined, “no testimony was elicited to suggest that
[respondent] would fail to appear . . . or that [he] was about to commit bodily
harm against himself or others.” Nor can
respondent’s “consent” to the officer’s search of his person be deemed
voluntary at that point. See State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575, 581
The state alternatively argues that, even if the detention of respondent was illegal, the officer was still allowed to seize the glass pipe from his vehicle, which would have led to discovery of other contraband and the eventual arrest of respondent. We disagree for several reasons. First, the search of the vehicle was clearly tainted by the prior unlawful detention and arrest of respondent. In addition, the evidence suggests that the remaining contraband discovered in respondent’s vehicle was not in plain view. Finally, the officer never claimed that he saw any residue on the pipe, acknowledged that this type of pipe could be used to smoke tobacco, and admitted that he was merely “guessing” that the pipe was intended to be used for marijuana. Under these circumstances, we cannot conclude that discovery of the glass pipe would have given the officer probable cause to believe that respondent had engaged in other criminal behavior so as to justify a search of the rest of the vehicle.
We therefore affirm the district court’s suppression order and dismissal of the six counts against respondent, which included four counts of controlled substance crimes of various degrees, possession of a bullet-resistant vest, and carrying a weapon without a permit.