This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Jay Kelly Martin,
Pine County District Court
File No. K5021041
Meshbesher, Kevin M. Gregorius, Meshbesher & Associates, P.A., 225 Lumber
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Kelly O’Neill Moller, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
John Carlson, Pine County Attorney, Pine County Attorney’s Office, Pine County Courthouse, 315 Main Street South, Pine City, MN 55063 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
Appellant challenges his conviction of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, arguing that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence that was obtained through an illegal stop, search, and seizure. We affirm.
Anthony Scholten, who had been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, told Pine County Sheriff’s deputies that he had recently seen a person named “Jay Kelly,” later identified as appellant Jay Kelly Martin, “cooking” methamphetamine on property owned by Lori Nebola. Scholten also described various motor vehicles used by Martin.
The day after the sheriff’s department received this information, Lori Nebola’s husband, Joedy Nebola, called the sheriff’s department to report that when he visited his estranged wife that morning, he observed Martin and two other people manufacturing methamphetamine in a shed on Lori Nebola’s property. Joedy Nebola reported that he knocked the manufacturing equipment to the floor in anger, which resulted in a physical confrontation with Martin, who reached for a handgun, provoking Joedy Nebola to throw Martin to the floor. Martin left when Joedy Nebola threatened to call the police. Joedy Nebola admitted to the sheriff’s department that he does not like Martin and suspected Martin of having an affair with Lori Nebola. Joedy Nebola described the vehicle in which Martin left, and the description was consistent with one of the vehicles described by Scholten.
Deputies obtained consent to search Lori Nebola’s property and discovered evidence of methamphetamine manufacture in and around the shed. In a garbage pit outside of the shed, the deputies discovered a plastic bag that contained a number of items typically used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and a checkbook deposit slip belonging to Martin. They also found methamphetamine in a nightstand in Lori Nebola’s bedroom.
Later on the same day, Joedy Nebola saw Martin drive by Joedy Nebola’s residence in Sandstone where he lived with his girlfriend. Based on Joedy Nebola’s reaction to seeing Martin, the girlfriend’s sister, who was at the residence, called 911 to report that Martin had threatened Joedy Nebola with a gun. Investigator Mathew Ludwig responded by driving to Joedy Nebola’s residence, where he learned that Martin had not, in fact, pointed a gun at Joedy Nebola.
In response to the 911 call, Deputy Scott Grice started driving to Lori Nebola’s residence because he felt that Martin might go there. On the way, Deputy Grice saw a vehicle that matched the description of one of the vehicles used by Martin. Deputy Grice stopped the vehicle, approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, and noticed a chemical odor coming from the vehicle. When the driver identified himself as Martin, Deputy Grice drew his weapon and ordered Martin and his passenger to put their hands up, get out of the vehicle, and lie on the ground. Deputy Grice handcuffed Martin and patted him down, asking Martin where the gun was. Martin said the gun was in a duffel bag in the back seat. Deputy Grice secured Martin and the passenger and searched the duffel bag, which contained a 9mm Rueger handgun loaded with a half-full magazine and one round in the chamber. Deputy Grice informed Martin that he was under arrest and called a tow-truck for Martin’s vehicle. Deputy Grice then performed what he described as an inventory search of Martin’s vehicle. When he opened the trunk, he noticed “an overwhelming smell of chemicals.” He found a propane tank, “hundreds of pills,” a damp filter containing a substance that was later determined to be methamphetamine, and another handgun that was unloaded and appeared to be inoperable. While Deputy Grice was performing the inventory search, he received the information that Martin had not brandished a gun when he drove by Joedy Nebola’s residence in Sandstone.
Martin was taken to the
Martin argues that the district court erred in denying
his motion to suppress evidence supporting the charge against him because the
evidence was seized in violation of constitutional guarantees against unlawful
searches and seizures. “When reviewing
pretrial orders on motions to suppress evidence, [this court] may independently
review the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court
erred in suppressing—or not suppressing—the evidence.” State
v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
and Article I, section 10, of the Minnesota Constitution protect citizens from
unreasonable government searches and seizures. Searches and seizures conducted without a
warrant “are per se unreasonable . . . subject only to a
few specifically established and well delineated exceptions.” In re
Welfare of G.M., 560 N.W.2d 687, 692 (
We first examine the legality of the stop. Officers may make an investigative stop of a
vehicle if the stop is justified by reasonable and articulable suspicion. Terry v.
Before the stop, Deputy Grice had received two independent reports that Martin was manufacturing methamphetamine in a shed on Lori Nebola’s property. He confirmed that a meth lab existed on Lori Nebola’s property and discovered evidence connecting Martin with the meth lab. Deputy Grice also had information that Martin and Joedy Nebola had a confrontation at the meth lab during which Martin had reached for a handgun, and, at the time of the stop, Deputy Grice was immediately responding to a 911 report that Martin had just threatened Joey Nebola with a gun at Joedy Nebola’s residence in Sandstone. The totality of the circumstances supports more than a reasonable and articulable suspicion by Deputy Grice that Martin had been engaged in criminal activity that justified an investigatory stop. See Schuster, 622 N.W.2dat 846-847 (holding that an officer had a reasonable and objective basis to stop Schuster’s vehicle after receiving a report that Schuster had engaged in harassing behavior earlier in the day). The fact that Deputy Grice learned after the stop that Martin did not brandish a weapon during the confrontation reported in the 911 call does not affect the reasonableness of the stop.
Martin argues that the deputy’s suspicion was not
reasonable because it was based on information supplied by unreliable
informants. When assessing reliability,
courts examine the credibility of the informant and the basis of the informant’s
knowledge under the totality of the circumstances. State v. McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d 700,
Martin argues that because he was immediately seized, the
stop was not an investigatory stop governed by Terry,but an arrest that
can only be justified if there was probable cause for arrest prior to the
stop. “There is no bright-line test
separating a legitimate investigative stop from an unlawful arrest.” State v. Balenger, 667 N.W.2d 133, 139
(Minn. App. 2003), review denied (
The supreme court has recognized that “if an officer
making a reasonable investigatory stop has cause to believe that the individual
is armed, he is justified in proceeding cautiously with weapons ready.” State
v. Munson, 594 N.W.2d 128, 137 (
“[P]robable cause to arrest requires police to have a
reasonable belief that a certain person has committed a crime.” G.M,
560 N.W.2d at 695. In determining
whether there was probable cause to arrest, we consider “whether the objective
facts are such that under the circumstances, a person of ordinary care and
prudence would entertain an honest and strong suspicion that a crime has been
Turning to the legality of the search, we conclude that
the search was justified under several exceptions to the warrant
requirement. Police may conduct a warrantless search
of “a person’s body and the area within his or her immediate control” incident
to a lawful arrest. State v. Robb, 605 N.W.2d 96, 100 (
Deputy Grice testified that after he retrieved the handgun in the location described by Martin and placed Martin under arrest, he conducted an inventory search of the vehicle, which was going to be towed. Before formally placing Martin under arrest, however, Grice had noticed a strong chemical odor coming from the vehicle, which, coupled with his reasonable suspicion that Martin was involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine, gave rise to probable cause to believe that the vehicle contained contraband. And if Martin was immediately placed under arrest at the inception of the stop, the search was justified as incident to arrest.
argues that because he was under arrest and had not been given a Miranda warning, his answer to Deputy
Grice’s question about where the gun was located should have been suppressed as
obtained in violation of his constitutional right against self-incrimination. “Statements made during a custodial
interrogation cannot be admitted into evidence unless the suspect is given the
Miranda warning and intelligently waives the right against self-incrimination.” State
v. Caldwell, 639 N.W.2d 64, 67 (Minn. App. 2002) (citing Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444-45, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 1612 (1966)), review
There is an exception to the Miranda
requirement that “allows police officers faced with an immediate threat
to public safety to ask questions necessary to protect the public or themselves
before giving a Miranda warning.”