This opinion will be unpublished and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
Michael Stuart Thompson,
Filed September 19, 2006
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 04082046
Mike Hatch, Attorney General,
John M. Stuart, State Public
Defender, Michael F. Cromett, Assistant Public Defender,
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from conviction of prohibited person in possession of a firearm, appellant challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence following a Rasmussen hearing. Appellant argues that (1) police officers executing a search warrant when appellant arrived at the house did not have a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity sufficient to justify his seizure; (2) the provision of the search warrant permitting the police to search “all occupants” was unconstitutional; and (3) even if there was sufficient reasonable and articulable suspicion to justify his initial detention and pat-down, appellant was effectively arrested without probable cause when he was escorted into the house and handcuffed. Because we conclude that the initial search and seizure of appellant was justified by the police officers’ reasonable concern for their own safety, we affirm.
December 14, 2004, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department searched a
Following a Rasmussen hearing, the district court denied appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence of the heroin and gun discovered by police. The district court concluded that the police officers had reasonable, articulable suspicion that appellant was involved in criminal activity and that officer safety also justified appellant’s initial detention. The district court concluded that the heroin found in appellant’s possession constituted sufficient probable cause to justify his subsequent arrest and search. Appellant waived his right to a jury trial, following which the district court convicted appellant of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (2004). This appeal follows.
challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Evidence obtained as the result of an illegal
search must be suppressed. State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 104–05 (
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I of the
Minnesota Constitution protect individuals against unreasonable searches and
seizures of their persons, papers, and effects.
State v. Bitterman, the Minnesota
Supreme Court concluded that circumstances justified a protective frisk of a
person who arrived at a house during a search by the police pursuant to a
warrant to search for heroin. State v. Bitterman, 304
This case is similar to both Gobely and Bitterman. Here, appellant evidenced an apparent familiarity and comfort level with the occupants of the residence when, without knocking, he opened the exterior door of the house, entered the fully enclosed porch, and walked directly to the open door leading into the living room. After police officers approached appellant and identified themselves, appellant “turned back around and looked at the porch door.” A police officer later testified that, in his experience, such behavior “indicates that the party was thinking about fleeing from the scene.” Another police officer testified that, in his experience, people visiting a house from which drugs are sold may be involved in buying or selling drugs themselves and may be armed. Additionally, the police officers conducting the search were aware that drugs had been sold out of the residence, that known drug users frequented the residence, that the residence was being used as a base for various drug dealers, and that a confidential informant had made a controlled heroin buy at the residence.
Here, the district court determined that appellant’s presence at the scene constituted a breach of security, and that the police—out of concern for their safety—properly conducted a pat-search, which led to the discovery of heroin on appellant’s person. Accordingly, appellant was arrested and subjected to a more thorough search.
On this record, we conclude that the district court did not err when it determined that police officers reasonably believed appellant posed a threat of immediate harm sufficient to justify appellant’s detention and frisk. Nor did it err when it determined that the police had probable cause to arrest appellant after finding the heroin. The police found the gun as a result of a search incident to a lawful arrest. On this record, we conclude that the district court did not err when it denied appellant’s motion to suppress.
argues for the first time on appeal that the “all occupants” provision of the
search warrant is unconstitutional. Generally,
this court will not consider issues that were not raised before the district
court. Roby v. State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 357 (