People v. Thompson, No. 87SA471

Docket NºNo. 87SA471
Citation770 P.2d 1282
Case DateApril 17, 1989
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 1282

770 P.2d 1282
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Donald Eugene THOMPSON, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 87SA471.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
April 17, 1989.

Page 1283

James F. Smith, Dist. Atty., Seventeenth Judicial Dist., Steven L. Bernard, Chief Trial Deputy, Michael J. Milne, Deputy Dist. Atty., Brighton, for plaintiff-appellant.

Ralph B. Rhodes, Denver, for defendant-appellee.

KIRSHBAUM, Justice.

The People have filed this interlocutory appeal pursuant to C.A.R. 4.1 seeking review of the trial court's order granting a motion filed by the defendant, Donald Eugene Thompson, to suppress evidence of contraband seized from Thompson's residence. 1 The People argue that in the circumstances of this case exigent circumstances justified a decision by police officials to enter and search a private residence without first obtaining a search warrant. We agree with the People's argument.

On March 4, 1987, at 3:30 a.m., Aurora Police Department Officers Michael Achziger, Mark Fletcher and Michael Yorchak were dispatched to 19761 East 17th Place in Adams County to investigate a report by an anonymous caller of a "domestic dispute, a man beating a female." When they arrived at that address at 3:40 a.m., they heard loud music emanating from the house next door. Officer Achziger knocked on the door of the 19761 East

Page 1284

17th Place residence, awakening the occupant. She stated that everything was fine and then pointed to the house which was the source of the music.

The three officers then walked next door, to 19791 East 17th Place. As they approached, Officer Achziger observed several spent .38 caliber casings on the driveway. He also observed blood on the front porch, on the front door, and on the side of the house next to the front door. The front door was ajar several inches, and glass in the front door was shattered and completely broken around the door knob. Officer Achziger positioned himself at the front corner of the house while the other two officers approached the entrance.

Officer Fletcher knocked on the front door. A woman, later identified as co-defendant Kimberly Grahl, answered the knock; stated "[h]e's gone. Everything's okay"; pushed the door shut and locked it; and then walked upstairs. Observing that Grahl's face and the front of her white smock were covered with blood and that she was holding an ice pack to her head, Officer Fletcher concluded that she had been assaulted. Officer Achziger then reached through the hole and opened the door, and the officers entered the house to determine the extent of Grahl's injuries and to ascertain whether other victims remained inside. 2

Upon entering the house the officers observed a stairway leading upstairs and downstairs and saw Grahl standing at the top of the upstairs landing. Officer Achziger searched the upstairs rooms while the other two officers remained with Grahl. He found a rifle in the back of an open walk-in closet in the master bedroom and observed a revolver on the floor of another closet. He unloaded the revolver and found two live shells and two spent shells.

Officer Achziger then announced that he was going downstairs to search for additional injured persons. Grahl protested, stating, "He's gone. You don't have to go down there. This is my house. I wish you guys would get out of here." She also grabbed his arm and said "[h]e's not down there." Officer Achziger nevertheless proceeded to investigate the downstairs area, and while doing so discovered several large marijuana plants behind a blanket hanging from the floor joists. He also observed heat lamps and reflective sheeting--items which, he testified, are items used in the cultivation of marijuana. He advised the other two officers of his discoveries, secured the scene, and requested assistance from the Special Assignments Bureau of the Aurora Police Department.

While Officer Achziger searched the residence, Officer Fletcher questioned Grahl. She stated that she and Thompson had lived at the house together for approximately six months, that she and Thompson had quarreled, that Thompson beat her up, and that several shots had been fired through the front door of the residence. Grahl later informed another officer that Thompson struck her in the face, breaking her nose; that she then fired a .32 caliber handgun once into the ceiling to chase Thompson away; and that she fired a second shot through the front door when Thompson, whom she had followed outside, attempted to reenter the house.

Merle Brosky, an...

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32 practice notes
  • State v. Geisler, No. 14365
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • June 18, 1992
    ...14 For example, the following decisions have approved warrantless entries and searches under the emergency doctrine: People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282 (Colo.1989) (responding to anonymous report of domestic dispute, police saw shell casings, blood on porch, broken glass in front door and wo......
  • People v. Harlan, No. 95SA298.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 27, 2000
    ...documents or the judgment of conviction to determine if an offense is lesser included. See Leske, 957 P.2d at 1036 n. 8 (citing Boulies, 770 P.2d at 1282); Bartowsheski, 661 P.2d at 8 P.3d 479 As a corollary, we do not consider the evidence presented at trial to determine whether the offens......
  • People v. Clark, Court of Appeals No. 10CA1184
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • April 23, 2015
    ...the appeal, and to ensure that the record is properly transmitted to an appellate court." (citing C.A.R. 10(b) ; People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282, 1283 n.1 (Colo.1989) ; People v. Velarde, 200 Colo. 374, 375, 616 P.2d 104, 105 (1980) )).¶ 143 As a result, "the record is insuffici......
  • Self v. Milyard, Civil Action No. 11-cv-00502-REB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • February 2, 2012
    ...determine whether there are any injured parties or whether the perpetrator of the violence is still on the premises. People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282, 1285 (Colo. 1989).Furthermore, when police are legitimately on a premises pursuant to an exception to the warrant requirement, they may sei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • State v. Geisler, No. 14365
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • June 18, 1992
    ...14 For example, the following decisions have approved warrantless entries and searches under the emergency doctrine: People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282 (Colo.1989) (responding to anonymous report of domestic dispute, police saw shell casings, blood on porch, broken glass in front door and wo......
  • People v. Harlan, No. 95SA298.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 27, 2000
    ...documents or the judgment of conviction to determine if an offense is lesser included. See Leske, 957 P.2d at 1036 n. 8 (citing Boulies, 770 P.2d at 1282); Bartowsheski, 661 P.2d at 8 P.3d 479 As a corollary, we do not consider the evidence presented at trial to determine whether the offens......
  • People v. Clark, Court of Appeals No. 10CA1184
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • April 23, 2015
    ...the appeal, and to ensure that the record is properly transmitted to an appellate court." (citing C.A.R. 10(b) ; People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282, 1283 n.1 (Colo.1989) ; People v. Velarde, 200 Colo. 374, 375, 616 P.2d 104, 105 (1980) )).¶ 143 As a result, "the record is insuffici......
  • Self v. Milyard, Civil Action No. 11-cv-00502-REB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • February 2, 2012
    ...determine whether there are any injured parties or whether the perpetrator of the violence is still on the premises. People v. Thompson, 770 P.2d 1282, 1285 (Colo. 1989).Furthermore, when police are legitimately on a premises pursuant to an exception to the warrant requirement, they may sei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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