State v. Carter, No. CX-95-1368

CourtCourt of Appeals of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtAppeal from District Court, Dakota County, Hon. Mary E. Pawlenty; DAVIES
Citation545 N.W.2d 695
Decision Date09 April 1996
Docket NumberNo. CX-95-1368
PartiesSTATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. Wayne Thomas CARTER, Appellant.

Page 695

545 N.W.2d 695
STATE of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Wayne Thomas CARTER, Appellant.
No. CX-95-1368.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
April 9, 1996.
Review Granted June 19, 1996.

Page 696

Syllabus by the Court

1. A business caller, in contrast to a social guest, is without sufficient "presence" to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in an apartment and, as such, lacks standing to assert a claim of unlawful search.

2. The following do not require a downward sentencing departure: no criminal history; business and personal success; and downward departure recommendation from probation officer.

Appeal from District Court, Dakota County, Hon. Mary E. Pawlenty, Judge.

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, St. Paul, James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Phillip D. Prokopowicz, Assistant County Attorney, Hastings, for Respondent.

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Scott G. Swanson, Assistant State Public Defender, Minneapolis, for Appellant.

Considered and decided by PARKER, P.J., and SCHUMACHER and DAVIES, JJ.

OPINION

DAVIES, Judge.

Appellant Wayne Thomas Carter, who was arrested after a visual search through an apartment window, challenges the legality of the search. He also challenges imposition of the presumptive sentence. We affirm.

FACTS

On May 15, 1994, a citizen told Police Officer Jim Thielen (officer) that there was drug activity in a nearby apartment. This informant told the officer that, while walking past a garden-level apartment window, he saw people packaging a white powder in plastic bags. The informant also told the officer that there was a blue four-door Cadillac with Illinois license plates nearby that possibly belonged to the people in the apartment.

After talking to the informant, the officer proceeded to the apartment building and, while standing on the front lawn, approximately 12-18 inches from a garden-level window, looked through a gap in the window blinds. He saw three people--two males and a female--working at a kitchen table. The males were putting small amounts of white powder into plastic bags, which the female then cut off for sealing. The officer observed

Page 697

the three people for 15 minutes, during which time they filled five or six bags.

The officer then contacted a South Metro Drug Task Force officer, who applied for a search warrant for both the car and the apartment. The suspects' car left the premises and the police arrested its occupants before the search warrant was obtained. The officer recognized appellant Wayne Carter, the car's driver, and Melvin Johns, the car's passenger, as the two males he had seen in the apartment.

Police seized an automatic pistol (which was in plain view) from the passenger-side floor. When they later received and executed the search warrant for the car, the police recovered a black leather bag containing 47.1 grams of cocaine packaged in plastic bags, along with pagers and a scale.

Carter was found guilty, on stipulated facts, of conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime in the first degree in violation of Minn.Stat. §§ 152.021, subd. 1(1), and 609.05 (1992) (count I), and controlled substance crime in the first degree (aiding and abetting) under Minn.Stat. §§ 152.021, subd. 2(1), and 609.05 (1992) (count II).

Carter was sentenced (only on count I) to the presumptive guidelines sentence of 86 months in prison. He now appeals, challenging the legality of the search and the failure to depart downward from the presumptive sentence.

ISSUES

I. Does Carter have standing to object to the officer's visual search?

II. Did the court err in failing to depart downward from the presumptive sentence?

ANALYSIS

I. Standing

As a threshold matter, the trial court ruled that Carter, as a short-duration caller, had no standing to object to the officer's peering into the apartment window. Carter disagrees and argues that his status, which he claims was as an "invited houseguest," is one to which society is willing to give an "expectation of privacy" and Fourth Amendment protection. On these stipulated facts, this presents a question of law, which we review de novo. Frost-Benco Elec. Ass'n v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 358 N.W.2d 639, 642 (Minn.1984).

[C]apacity to claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment depends * * *...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 practice notes
  • State v. Carter, No. CX-95-1368
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • September 11, 1997
    ...concerning his stay in the apartment, which indicates that he used it for a business purpose--to package drugs." State v. Carter, 545 N.W.2d 695, 698 We therefore begin our analysis by addressing the question of standing, and only if we determine that Carter had standing to bring a motion t......
  • State v. Carter, No. CX-95-1368
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • July 15, 1999
    ...and in State v. Johns, 569 N.W.2d 180 (Minn.1997), are hereby vacated. The judgment of the court of appeals in State v. Carter, 545 N.W.2d 695 (Minn.App.1996), is affirmed. The judgment of the court of appeals in State v. Johns, No. C9-95-1765, 1996 WL 310305 (Minn. App. June 11, 1996) (hol......
  • Morton v. US, No. 95-CF-422.
    • United States
    • August 12, 1999
    ...acknowledged that respondents could not be fairly characterized as Thompson's "guests." 569 N.W.2d 169, 175-176 (1997); see also 545 N.W.2d 695, 698 (Minn.Ct.App.1996) (noting that Carter's only evidence — that he was there to package cocaine — was inconsistent with his claim that "he was p......
  • Minnesota v Carter, 971147
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1998
    ...concerning his stay in the apartment, which indicates that he used it for a business purpose to package drugs." State v. Carter, 545 N. W. 2d 695, 698 (1996). In a separate appeal, the Court of Appeals also affirmed Johns' conviction, without addressing what it termed the "standing" issue. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • State v. Carter, No. CX-95-1368
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • September 11, 1997
    ...concerning his stay in the apartment, which indicates that he used it for a business purpose--to package drugs." State v. Carter, 545 N.W.2d 695, 698 We therefore begin our analysis by addressing the question of standing, and only if we determine that Carter had standing to bring a motion t......
  • State v. Carter, No. CX-95-1368
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • July 15, 1999
    ...and in State v. Johns, 569 N.W.2d 180 (Minn.1997), are hereby vacated. The judgment of the court of appeals in State v. Carter, 545 N.W.2d 695 (Minn.App.1996), is affirmed. The judgment of the court of appeals in State v. Johns, No. C9-95-1765, 1996 WL 310305 (Minn. App. June 11, 1996) (hol......
  • Morton v. US, No. 95-CF-422.
    • United States
    • August 12, 1999
    ...acknowledged that respondents could not be fairly characterized as Thompson's "guests." 569 N.W.2d 169, 175-176 (1997); see also 545 N.W.2d 695, 698 (Minn.Ct.App.1996) (noting that Carter's only evidence — that he was there to package cocaine — was inconsistent with his claim that "he was p......
  • Minnesota v Carter, 971147
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1998
    ...concerning his stay in the apartment, which indicates that he used it for a business purpose to package drugs." State v. Carter, 545 N. W. 2d 695, 698 (1996). In a separate appeal, the Court of Appeals also affirmed Johns' conviction, without addressing what it termed the "standing" issue. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT