This opinion will be unpublished and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
Allen James Slate,
Filed January 24, 2006
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K1-03-3794
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Mark Nathan Lystig, Assistant County Attorney, 50 Kellogg Boulevard West, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Barry V. Voss, Barry V. Voss, P.A.,
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Wright, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence. He alleges that the arresting officers were not justified in conducting an inventory search of his vehicle because he had arranged for a friend to pick up the vehicle. Because the search was valid as a search incident to arrest, we affirm.
Police officers observed appellant, who was the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle, fail to properly signal a turn. The officers ran a license plate check on the vehicle and learned that the registered owner had a revoked driver’s license. The officers were able to view appellant and believed that he fit the description of the registered owner. The officers activated their emergency lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop. Appellant turned into a gas station parking lot, where the officers conducted the traffic stop.
provided the officers with his driver’s license but had no proof of insurance. He stated that he had just purchased the
vehicle and that it was not registered to him.
After running a driver’s license check on appellant, the officers
learned that his license was suspended and that appellant had an outstanding
misdemeanor warrant from
During the search of appellant’s vehicle, the officers located a bottle holder containing nine small baggies in the vehicle’s center-console area. Each of the baggies contained cocaine, totaling 12.3 grams. The officers also found a cell-phone case that contained an additional four baggies of cocaine, totaling 7.3 grams, and a baggie containing 0.7 grams of methamphetamine. In addition, the officers found a wallet with approximately $3,000 in cash in it.
Appellant moved to suppress the evidence at an omnibus hearing. The district court denied appellant’s motion and subsequently found appellant guilty following a stipulated-facts trial. Appellant now appeals the district court’s order denying his motion to suppress.
reviewing a pre-trial order suppressing evidence where the facts are not in
dispute and the trial court’s decision is a question of law, the reviewing
court may independently review the facts and determine, as a matter of law,
whether the evidence need be suppressed.”
State v. Othoudt, 482 N.W.2d
218, 221 (
Appellant does not contest the officers’ justification for the stop. But he argues that the search was not justified because he had arranged for a friend to pick up his car, so there was no need for the police to impound it and hence no need for an inventory search.
Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 10 of the
Minnesota Constitution both guarantee the “right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV;
exceptions allow a search to be conducted without a warrant. Geer v.
State, 406 N.W.2d 34, 35 (
Here, appellant does not challenge the stop, as
the officers observed appellant violate a traffic law when appellant failed to
properly signal a turn. Once stopped,
appellant provided the officers with his driver’s license, and a check of his
license revealed that appellant had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant issued
Incident to that arrest, the officers searched the passenger compartment of appellant’s vehicle. Because the officers had probable cause to arrest appellant and did arrest him and because a custodial arrest was authorized, both the officers’ search of his vehicle and seizure of the contraband were valid.