STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN SUPREME COURT
Anderson, Paul H., J.
State of Minnesota,
June 14, 2007
of Appellate Courts
William Arthur Anderson,
S Y L L A B U S
District court did not err when it
concluded that a felony burglary conviction that is later deemed a misdemeanor
under Minn. Stat. § 609.13, subd. 1(2) (2006), is a “crime of violence” as
defined in Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2006), for the purposes of the
firearm prohibition statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.165, subd. 1b(a) (2006).
interests of justice do not require us to review appellant’s claim regarding an
improperly imposed probation condition, when the evidence necessary to
establish that claim was not provided to the district court in this proceeding.
the totality of the circumstances, a search of appellant’s residence was
reasonable under the Fourth Amendment because the search was supported by
reasonable suspicion and conducted pursuant to a probation condition we presume
to be valid.
decline to interpret the Minnesota Constitution as offering greater protection
for probationers’ rights than does the Fourth Amendment, when appellant has not
established that the U.S. Supreme Court has made a sharp or radical departure
from its previous decisions or retrenched on its jurisprudence with respect to
probation searches, and when we are not convinced that federal precedent inadequately
protects Minnesota citizens’ basic rights and liberties.
Heard, considered, and decided by the
court en banc.
O P I N I O
Paul H., Justice.
County District Court placed William Arthur Anderson on probation after he
pleaded guilty to felony burglary in 1995. Five years later, the court discharged
Anderson from probation
and ordered that his felony conviction be deemed a misdemeanor under Minn.
Stat. § 609.13, subd. 1 (2006). Anderson was later
convicted of another felony and again placed on probation. Four months after sentencing, he signed a probation
agreement requiring him to permit warrantless, suspicionless searches of his
person and property. Approximately six
months later, Anderson’s probation officer
received a tip that Anderson had guns at his
residence and as a result, the probation officer conducted a warrantless search
of Anderson’s residence
and seized two guns. Anderson was subsequently charged with being
a felon in possession of a firearm. Anderson pleaded not
guilty and moved the district court to suppress the guns as products of an unconstitutional
search. The district court denied the motion, and a jury found Anderson guilty as charged. The court then sentenced
Anderson to 60 months in prison.
Anderson appealed to
the court of appeals, arguing that the district court erred when it refused to
suppress the guns. He also argued that the
court erred in applying the firearm prohibition statute to him because under section
609.13, his 1995 conviction was not for a statutorily defined crime of violence. The court of appeals affirmed as to both
issues, and we granted Anderson’s
petition for further review. Because we
conclude that the district court did not err in applying the firearm
prohibition statute to Anderson and that the
search of Anderson’s
residence was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, we affirm.
In 1995, appellant
William Arthur Anderson pleaded guilty in Itasca
to second-degree burglary, a felony under Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 2
(2006). The Itasca County District Court
stayed imposition of Anderson’s
sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years. In 2001, the court discharged
Anderson from probation
and ordered his felony burglary offense be deemed a misdemeanor under Minn.
Stat. § 609.13, subd. 1(2) (2006).
Approximately three years later, Anderson
pleaded guilty in Itasca
County to fifth-degree
controlled substance crime, a felony under Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subds. 2(1),
3(a) (2006). The court stayed
adjudication of the crime and placed Anderson
on supervised probation for five years.
Approximately four months after Anderson’s
sentencing hearing, he signed a probation agreement. One of the conditions listed on this
agreement—general condition 6—required him, “when ordered by [his] Agent, [to]
submit to search of [his] person, residence, or any other property under [his]
control.” Anderson now alleges that this search
condition is invalid because it was not imposed by the district court at
The facts surrounding the alleged
unconstitutional search are as follows. On
September 20, 2004, Investigator Greg Snyder of the Itasca County Sheriff’s
Department learned from the mother of Anderson’s
girlfriend that Anderson had been arrested in
and had posted bail. Snyder telephoned
the Superior Police Department, which confirmed that Anderson had been arrested for domestic
assault against his girlfriend. Snyder
then telephoned Anderson’s
probation officer, Anthony Athmann, and left a voicemail message regarding what
he had learned. On the same morning,
Athmann received a telephone call from a person who identified herself as the
mother of Anderson’s
girlfriend. The caller told Athmann that
Anderson had assaulted her daughter in a
hotel room. The caller also told Athmann
that according to her daughter, Anderson
kept guns under his bed and a large amount of methamphetamine in a secret room
behind his clothes dryer.
receiving this call, Athmann telephoned the Superior police department and
confirmed that Anderson
had been arrested for domestic assault.
Athmann attempted to reach Anderson
to discuss the alleged assault, but was unable to do so. Athmann then obtained permission from his
supervisor to search Anderson’s
residence. Later that day, Athmann,
Snyder, and Deputy Mike Olson traveled to Anderson’s
residence, where Anderson’s
son allowed them to enter. The officers
encountered Anderson on entering the residence,
and Athmann told Anderson that he was there to
conduct a search in keeping with general condition 6 of Anderson’s probation agreement.
responded, “[T]hat’s fine. I’ve got
nothing to hide.”
Snyder searched Anderson’s bedroom and found one
20-guage shotgun and one .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle under Anderson’s bed. Shortly thereafter, the state charged
Anderson with one count of
being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of Minn. Stat. §§
609.165, subd. 1b, 609.11 (2006). Anderson pleaded not
guilty and moved the district court to suppress the guns as fruits of a
nonconsensual, warrantless search conducted without probable cause, in
violation of the Fourth Amendment. Based
on the foregoing facts, the court denied Anderson’s
motion to suppress the guns after concluding that, among other things,
Anderson’s probation condition regarding searches was
reasonable, and Anderson’s probation agent had
reasonable grounds to search Anderson’s
residence under federal Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
witness to testify at Anderson’s trial was T.R.,
girlfriend. T.R. said that she lived at Anderson’s residence from June to September 2004 and that
Anderson’s son, T.A., and
the son’s girlfriend also sometimes resided there that summer. T.R. said that in July, a man named Isaac S.
gave Anderson a shotgun at Anderson’s residence.
then gave T.R. the gun and asked her to put it under his bed. T.R. said that she placed the gun in a
storage compartment under the bed, and when doing so, observed that a second
gun was being stored there. She stated
that she saw the same two guns in the compartment in August and in early
September. She also stated that on
September 19, she told her mother about the guns and the fact that Anderson had threatened
officer Athmann testified that on September 20, T.R.’s mother telephoned him
and indicated that Anderson
had guns at his residence. Athmann said
he then contacted Snyder, and later that day, he, Snyder, and Olson met to
search the residence. Athmann stated
that they encountered Anderson’s son and the
son’s girlfriend a short distance from Anderson’s
residence, and they accompanied the officers to the residence, where Anderson’s son allowed
them to enter. Once inside, Athmann
introduced himself to Anderson, who was seated in the living room. Athmann testified that he told
Anderson he was there to search for firearms and asked
bedroom was located. Athmann said that Anderson pointed toward
the bedroom. Athmann said that Anderson remained seated
while he and Snyder proceeded to the bedroom, where he located a compartment
under the bed containing one 20-guage shotgun and one .22 caliber semiautomatic
rifle. Athmann said that as Anderson was being arrested for probation violations,
Anderson asked his son why he had placed the guns in
Anderson’s former wife T.D., who is also the mother of T.A., testified
that she brought two guns to Anderson’s
residence sometime in mid-September and gave them to T.A. for use in hunting. T.D. said that the guns she brought belonged
to T.A., but she could neither describe nor identify the guns as the 20-gauge
shotgun and .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle in evidence. T.A.’s girlfriend also testified that T.D.
brought guns to Anderson’s residence for T.A., but
the girlfriend was subsequently impeached by the playing of a recorded
interview with Snyder, in which she stated that she was unaware of anyone bringing weapons
Anderson’s friend D.E. testified that on approximately
September 13, he visited T.R. at Anderson’s
residence while Anderson
was in jail on probation violations.
D.E. said that he saw two guns that looked like rifles on a gun rack in
Anderson’s bedroom. Knowing that
Anderson was prohibited from possessing guns,
D.E. asked T.R. why the guns were there, and T.R. responded that T.A. brought
them for hunting. T.R. also told D.E. that
she would “take care of [them].”
Anderson did not testify, but his counsel asserted in closing
argument that Anderson did not knowingly possess
the guns because someone had brought them into Anderson’s
residence while Anderson
was in jail in September for probation violations. The jury apparently rejected
Anderson’s version of events because it found
him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court then sentenced
Anderson to 60 months in
prison. Anderson appealed his conviction to the court
of appeals, arguing that he was improperly convicted of being a felon in
possession because on his completion of probation for the prior felony burglary
conviction, that conviction was deemed a misdemeanor by operation of Minn.
Stat. § 609.13, subd. 1(2). State v. Anderson,
720 N.W.2d 854, 859 (Minn.
2006). He also argued that the district
court erred when it refused to suppress the guns as fruits of an
unconstitutional search, and that he was denied a fair trial because of
prosecutorial misconduct. Id.
at 861, 864. The court of appeals
rejected all three arguments and affirmed Anderson’s
Anderson asks us to decide (1) whether a felony burglary conviction that is
later deemed a misdemeanor under section 609.13 is a “crime of violence” for
the purposes of the firearm prohibition statute; and (2) whether the Fourth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution requires
courts to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of a
probationer’s residence, when the probationer’s signed probation agreement
contains an administratively imposed condition allowing warrantless,
Statutes § 609.165, subd. 1b(a), provides that “[a]ny person who has been
convicted of a crime of violence, as defined in section 624.712, subd. 5, and
who * * * possesses * * * a firearm, commits a felony.” Under Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2006),
“‘[c]rime of violence’ means: felony
convictions of * * * [section] 609.582, subdivision 1, 2, or 3 (burglary in
the first through third degrees).”
(Emphasis added.) Minnesota
Statutes § 609.13, subd. 1(2), provides that a felony conviction “is deemed to
be for a misdemeanor if the imposition of the prison sentence is stayed, the
defendant is placed on probation, and the defendant is thereafter discharged
without a prison sentence.” Anderson argues that
because his prior felony burglary conviction was deemed to be a misdemeanor
under section 609.13 when he was discharged from probation in 2001, he was not
convicted of a “crime of violence” as defined in section 624.712, subd. 5. He then asserts that because he was not
convicted of a “crime of violence,” he was improperly convicted of being a
felon in possession under section 609.165, subd. 1b(a). Anderson
concedes that he is challenging the applicability of the firearm prohibition statute
for the first time on appeal, but he asks us to review his claim in the
interests of justice.
We do not ordinarily decide “issues
that are raised for the first time on appeal, even constitutional questions of
criminal procedure.” State v. Allen, 706 N.W.2d 40, 43 (Minn. 2005). But we mayconsider such an issue if it implicates a plain error affecting substantial
rights. Id. In rare circumstances, we may also consider
such an issue when the interests of justice require and when doing so would not
work an unfair surprise on a party. See id. Here, Anderson
does not explain why we should bypass a plain error analysis and instead
consider his claim in the interests of justice, other than to note “the
important liberty interest at stake.”
Accordingly, we conclude that Anderson’s
claim is subject to review under the plain error doctrine.
Appellate review under
the plain error doctrine requires Anderson
to establish (1) error; (2) that is plain; and (3) that affects his substantial
rights. See State v. Manthey, 711 N.W.2d 498, 504 (Minn. 2006). If all three elements are met, we will determine
whether it is necessary to address the error to ensure the fairness and
integrity of the judicial proceedings. Id. Whether
Anderson establishes the first
element—error—depends in this case on the interpretation of sections 609.13 and
624.712. We review de novo the interpretation
of criminal statutes. State v. Koenig, 666 N.W.2d 366, 372 (Minn. 2003). “The object of statutory interpretation is to
effectuate the intent of the legislature,” and “a statute’s words and phrases
are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning.” Id.
Anderson argues that under section 609.13,
the discharge from probation for his 1995 felony burglary conviction not only
affected the status of that conviction going forward but also altered what
happened in the past, such that on discharge, he was a person who has been convicted
of a misdemeanor. Accordingly, he argues
that as a matter of plain language, he cannot be a person who “has been
convicted of a ‘crime of violence’” under section 609.165, subd. 1b(a), because
“crimes of violence” as defined by section 624.712, subd. 5, are necessarily
felonies. The state argues that under
the plain language of the foregoing sections as applied in State v. Moon, 463 N.W.2d 517 (Minn.
1990), the fact that Anderson’s felony conviction was later deemed a
misdemeanor under section 609.13 does not change the fact that Anderson has
been convicted of a crime of violence and is therefore prohibited from
possessing a firearm.
Moon, we held that a felony theft
conviction later deemed a misdemeanor under section 609.13 was a crime of
violence under section 624.712, subd. 5, for the purposes of the firearm
prohibition statute. 463 N.W.2d at
521. In support of our holding, we reasoned
[s]ection 609.13 does not preclude the legislature
from imposing consequences * * * to protect the safety of the public, based on
an offender’s commission of criminal acts which also constitute felonies. In enacting section 609.165, subdivision 1a,
the legislature intended the nature of the [prior] offense rather than the
subsequent treatment of the offender to be the basis for the imposition of the
firearms restriction. * * * [T]he definitions of the offenses listed as crimes
of violence in section 624.712, subdivision 5, relate to the elements of the
offense for which the defendant was originally convicted rather than the
disposition subsequently imposed by the trial judge.
Id. Notwithstanding this reasoning, Anderson argues that post-Moon amendments to section 624.712,
subd. 5, reveal the legislature’s intent to exclude from “crimes of violence”
all felonies later deemed misdemeanors under section 609.13.
Like the current version of section
624.712, subd. 5, the 1990 version of the statute that we construed in Moon included a long list of offenses
identified as crimes of violence. But in
the 1990 version, only three of the numerous listed offenses were modified by
the words “felony” or “felonious.” See Moon,463 N.W.2d at 520. We
explained that an analysis under section 609.13 was not required when a person
committed one of the numerous offenses not modified by the words “felony” or “felonious”
because section 624.712, subdivision 5, would clearly apply to any level of
conviction for that offense. See id. We also stated that the legislature’s use of
the words “felony” or “felonious” to modify certain listed offenses “arguably
would invoke the operation of section 609.13” for those offenses. Id. But we rejected this argument because we did
not believe that the legislature intended to treat offenses modified by the
terms “felony” or “felonious” differently from the unmodified offenses for the
purposes of the firearm prohibition statute.
Id. at 520-21.
In 2003, the legislature amended
Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5, to state that “‘crime of violence’ means[ ] felony convictions of [all listed]
offenses.” Act of Apr. 28, 2003, ch. 28, art. 3 § 7, 2003
265, 292-93 (emphasis added). Anderson
argues, based on Moon’s “arguably would
invoke” language, that as a result of the 2003 amendment, section 609.13 is
“invoked” for every offense listed in section 624.712, subd. 5.
Anderson’s effort to recast our holding in Moon in light of the amended definition
of “crime of violence” is unavailing. Moon instructs courts to consider the
elements of a prior offense rather than its subsequent disposition when
deciding whether the offense is a crime of violence, 463 N.W.2d at 521, and
Anderson fails to show that
the 2003 amendments undermine the propriety of that instruction. More
specifically, the relevant provision of section 609.165, subd.
1b(a)—prohibiting firearm possession by “[a]ny person who has been convicted of a crime of violence” (emphasis added)—has not
changed since we decided Moon. As the court of appeals stated,
Anderson “‘has been
convicted’ of felony second-degree burglary.
His conviction was later deemed a misdemeanor, but that does not change
his underlying conviction for the purposes of the [firearm prohibition]
720 N.W.2d at 861 (quoting Minn. Stat.
§ 609.165, subd. 1b).
Based on the foregoing analysis, we conclude
has not established that the district court committed error when it applied the
firearm prohibition statute to him. Accordingly,
no further inquiry is warranted under our plain error doctrine, and we proceed
search and seizure claim.
We review de novo a district court’s ruling
on constitutional questions involving searches and seizures. See
State v. Wiegand, 645 N.W.2d 125, 129 (Minn. 2002). We will not reverse the court’s factual
findings unless the findings are clearly erroneous or contrary to law.
Id. In this case, the court’s factual findings
are not in dispute.
Anderson argues that a warrantless search of
a probationer’s residence violates the Fourth Amendment unless it is predicated
on reasonable suspicion and conducted under a valid search condition. He argues that in this case, his probation
officer lacked reasonable suspicion to search his residence, and his probation
condition was invalid because it was imposed in a manner that violated
Minnesota law and the
Sixth Amendment. Finally, he asks us to
conclude that the Minnesota Constitution prohibits warrantless probation
searches and prohibits probation conditions that allow such searches.
Anderson’s arguments, it is helpful to
briefly survey the landscape of federal and state law pertaining to probation
searches. The Fourth Amendment guarantees
“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. Warrantless residential searches and seizures
are presumptively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Payton
v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980). But the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a
state’s probation system “presents ‘special needs’ beyond normal law
enforcement that may justify departures from the usual warrant and probable-cause-requirements.”
Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868, 873-74 (1987). One such special need is the state’s exercise
of supervision to ensure that probationers observe the restrictions placed upon
them. Id. at 874-75. Applying the foregoing principles, the Court
held in Griffin that a warrantless search of a
probationer’s residence is reasonable when conducted under a state regulation,
which regulation permits such searches when (1) the probation officer’s
supervisor approves the search; and (2) the officer has reasonable grounds to
believe the residence contains contraband.
Id.at 871, 880.
Fourteen years after deciding Griffin, the Supreme Court again
examined the reasonableness of a warrantless search of a probationer’s
residence in United States v. Knights,
534 U.S. 112, 114 (2001). The Court
began its analysis in Knights by adopting
a totality of the circumstances approach for probation searches, in which
the reasonableness of a search is determined “by
assessing, on the one hand, the degree to which [the search] intrudes upon an
individual’s privacy and, on the other, the degree to which [the search] is
needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.
Id. at 118-19 (quoting Wyoming
v. Houghton, 526 U.S.
295, 300 (1999)). The Court noted that
on the individual privacy side of the balance, a probationer’s status deprives
him of “some freedoms enjoyed by law-abiding citizens.” Id. at
119. The Court also identified as “a
salient circumstance” the fact that Knights had agreed to a probation
condition, which “significantly diminished [his] reasonable expectation of privacy.” Id. at 118, 120. On the governmental interests side of the
balance, the Court noted dual concerns: integrating the probationer back into
the community and combating recidivism. Id.
at 120-21. The Court held that in light
of the facts and circumstances of Knights’ case, the balancing of private and
governmental interests “require[d] no more than reasonable suspicion to conduct
a search of [a] probationer’s house.” Id.
have also recognized that as a result of the “special relationship” between
probation officers and probationers, the reasonableness of “probation searches cannot
be strictly governed by automatic reference to ordinary search and seizure
law.” State v. Earnest, 293 N.W.2d 365, 368 (Minn. 1980).
In light of the demands created by that relationship—balanced against
the probationer’s lowered expectations of privacy—we held in Earnest that a warrantless search of a
probationer’s residence did not violate the Fourth Amendment when based on
probable cause. Id.
at 368-69. But we expressly declined to
decide whether a warrantless probation search supported by less than probable
cause would be reasonable. Id.
at 369 n.5.
Anderson asserts that under Knights, a probation search cannot
comply with the Fourth Amendment unless it is supported by reasonable suspicion
and conducted under a valid probation
condition. We need not, and do not,
reach the issue of whether absent a valid probation condition, a probation
search based on reasonable suspicion violates the Fourth Amendment because we
conclude that (1) the search was supported by reasonable suspicion; and (2) based
on the record before us, we must presume that Anderson’s probation condition is valid. Accordingly, we are able to decide this case
by balancing Anderson’s
individual privacy rights against the state’s legitimate interests using Knights’ totality of the circumstances
Reasonable suspicion requires “a
sufficiently high probability that criminal conduct is occurring to make the
intrusion on the [probationer’s] privacy interest reasonable.” Knights,
at 121. Reasonable suspicion is more than
“an unarticulated hunch.” State v. Wasson, 615 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Minn. 2000). It is “‘a particularized and objective basis
for suspecting [a] person * * * of criminal activity.’” State
v. Martinson, 581 N.W.2d 846, 850 (Minn.
1998) (quoting Ornelas v. United States,
690, 696 (1996)).
Anderson argues that his probation
officer did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity because (1) the
officer could not be certain of the identity of the telephone caller who
claimed to be T.R.’s mother; (2) the officer failed to contact T.R. to
corroborate the caller’s statements; (3) the officer failed to make more than
one attempt to reach Anderson to discuss the Superior, Wisconsin assault; and (4)
the officer’s telephone call to the Superior police department yielded no information
about whether Anderson had guns at his residence. The state argues that Athmann had reasonable
suspicion based on the telephone call from T.R.’s mother even without the added
credibility that her statements gained when the Superior police department confirmed
that Anderson had
We have not previously considered a
challenge to the existence of reasonable suspicion in the context of a
warrantless probation search. But in an
unpublished opinion, the court of appeals concluded that reasonable grounds for
such a search are established when a police officer relays to a probation
officer that based on an informant’s tip, the probationer “had or might have
guns.” State v. Grever, No. C0-97-864, 1997 WL 666098, at *1, 3 (Minn.
App. Oct. 28, 1997). In reaching this
conclusion, the court of appeals quoted Griffin, in
which the Supreme Court stated that it is “‘reasonable to permit information
provided by a police officer, whether or not on the basis of firsthand
knowledge, to support a probationer search.’”
Grever, at *3 (quoting Griffin, 483 U.S.
probation officer had more than “an unarticulated hunch” that
Anderson had guns at his residence. The telephone call from T.R.’s mother—whose
identity the officer had no reason to doubt—indicated that her daughter, who
lived with Anderson,
had firsthand knowledge of the guns. Moreover,
the caller’s statement that Anderson had been
arrested in Superior, Wisconsin
was corroborated when the probation officer telephoned the Superior
police. As the district court noted in
its findings of fact and conclusions of law, this corroboration gave added
credibility to the caller’s statement regarding guns. Based on the foregoing facts, we conclude
that there was a sufficiently high probability that Anderson possessed guns to make the intrusion
on his privacy interest reasonable. We therefore conclude that the search of
Anderson’s residence was
supported by reasonable suspicion.
Validity of Anderson’s
Anderson argues that his probation
condition is invalid because it is (1) an “intermediate sanction” that must be
pronounced by a court at sentencing in order to comply with state law under State v.
527 N.W.2d 827, 829 (Minn.
1995); and (2) a term of his sentence that must be imposed in his presence
under the Sixth Amendment. The state contends that these arguments are
procedurally barred because Anderson
raises them for the first time on appeal.
We agree that Anderson’s argument is procedurally barred.
argued in the district court that the “search
in question was unlawful ‘under the laws of this state’ and ‘for
constitutional reasons.’” But this argument
was too broad to put either the state or the district court on notice that
Anderson was challenging
the validity of his probation condition.
Consequently, the state was unable to present responsive arguments or
evidence, a relevant factual record was not developed, and the district court
did not issue findings or conclusions on point.
As previously stated, we may consider
an issue raised for the first time on appeal if the party asserting the issue
proves plain error affecting substantial rights. Allen,
706 N.W.2d at 43. We conclude that under
the facts of this case, Anderson
has not proved that the district court committed plain error when it failed to consider
whether his probation condition was validly imposed in an entirely separate proceeding.
only evidence that his probation condition was not validly imposed is a sentencing transcript from that separate
did not introduce the transcript in the district court below.
In rare cases, we deem it appropriate
to forgo plain error review and consider—in the interests of justice—an issue raised
for the first time on appeal. See Allen,
706 N.W.2d at 43. Because the record
before us is silent on the circumstances surrounding the imposition of
conclude that this is not such a case. We
therefore further conclude that the validity of Anderson’s probation condition under Henderson or the Sixth Amendment is not
properly before us and not subject to challenge in this appeal. Consequently, we must presume that the
condition was validly imposed when we conduct our totality of the circumstances
analysis under Knights.
Totality of the Circumstances Analysis
The Minnesota Constitution, like the
Fourth Amendment, guarantees “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures.” Minn. Const. art. I, § 10.
asks us to interpret this guarantee to prohibit warrantless probation searches
and to prohibit probation conditions that allow warrantless searches.
Looking to the state constitution as
an independent basis for individual rights is a task we approach “with
restraint and some delicacy,” especially when the right at stake is guaranteed
by identical or substantially similar language in the federal
constitution. See Kahn v. Griffin, 701 N.W.2d 815,
2005). But even when the language is
identical, as it is with regard to searches and seizures, we will independently
apply the state constitution
when we conclude that the United States Supreme Court
has made a sharp or radical departure from its previous decisions or approach
to the law and when we discern no persuasive reason to follow such a
departure. We will also apply the state
constitution if we determine that the Supreme Court has retrenched on Bill of
Rights issues, or if we determine that federal precedent does not adequately
protect our citizens’ basic rights and liberties.
Id. (internal citations omitted).
The Supreme Court’s decision in Knights does not appear to be a sharp or
radical departure from its previous decisions or a retrenchment on its Fourth
Amendment jurisprudence with respect to probation searches. Moreover, we are not convinced that federal
precedent inadequately protects our citizens’ basic rights and liberties. Accordingly, we decline
Anderson’s invitation to deem the search of
his residence unreasonable under the Minnesota Constitution.
For all of the foregoing reasons, we
hold that the district court did not err when it refused to suppress the guns
that were seized in the search of Anderson’s