State v. Groff, 66397

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Citation323 N.W.2d 204
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, Appellee, v. Floyd Clifford GROFF, Appellant. STATE of Iowa, Appellee, v. Cindy Rae GROFF, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 66397,66397
Decision Date25 August 1982

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323 N.W.2d 204
STATE of Iowa, Appellee,
Floyd Clifford GROFF, Appellant.
STATE of Iowa, Appellee,
Cindy Rae GROFF, Appellant.
No. 66397.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Aug. 25, 1982.

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Bruce Washburn, Iowa City, for appellants.

Thomas J. Miller, Atty. Gen., John P. Messina, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Kenneth R. Martens, Iowa County Atty., for appellee.


This appeal involves challenges to the validity of a search warrant.

Defendants Floyd Clifford Groff and Cindy Rae Groff are married and live on a farmstead in Iowa County, Iowa. Their home is approximately one and three-quarters miles from a field in Washington County owned by Floyd's father, Warren Groff. In 1979 Floyd planted corn in that field.

In October 1979, a local farmer visited the field and discovered what appeared to be a cultivated marijuana plot containing three to four rows of plants growing on an edge of the field between the corn and timberland. The farmer told his discovery to several persons including an informant. On the morning of October 9, 1979, the informant notified Washington County Deputy Sheriff Jack Dillon. Roger Timko, a state narcotics agent, was present at the sheriff's office when the tip was received, and assisted the sheriff's personnel in investigating the information. Dillon first checked the Washington County recorder's office and found that the field was owned by Warren Groff. Dillon and Sheriff Yale Jarvis then contacted several persons living near the field, who provided information

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that Floyd had access to the field and was currently farming it. Later the same afternoon Dillon, Timko, Jarvis, and a pilot flew over the field and observed several rows of what appeared to be marijuana growing between the corn and timber. The party also flew over defendants' residence but observed no marijuana or marijuana-processing activity.

Based on the information from the interviews and flight, Agent Timko executed an affidavit for a search warrant. In the affidavit he stated that during the flight he personally observed a plot of green leafy plants in the field which appeared to be consistent in form with marijuana, that he had been informed that Floyd owned and had access to the field in question, and that his experience as a narcotics agent indicated an individual engaged in producing marijuana needed an area to process the plants prior to distribution and use. The affidavit was presented to a Washington County nonlawyer magistrate who, without taking oral testimony, issued a search warrant covering both the Washington County field and the Iowa County farmstead.

Officers executed the warrant on the morning of October 10, 1979. One group of officers was dispatched to the field. They seized approximately 232 six- to seven-foot marijuana plants. A second group of officers went to the farmstead and conducted a thorough search of the farmhouse and outbuildings. They confiscated marijuana in various stages of processing, and paraphernalia used in processing and smoking marijuana.

The county attorney charged defendants with manufacturing or possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. §§ 204.401(1), 204.204(4)(j), The Code 1979. The cases against defendants were consolidated. Iowa R.Crim.P. 6(4)(b ). prior to trial defendaNts moved to suppress all evidence seized from their Iowa County farmstead on the ground that the search warrant was invalid as to that property. After a hearing the district court overruled the motion, and the case proceeded to trial. A jury found Floyd guilty of the lesser included offense of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver not for profit, §§ 204.401(1), 204.410, and found Cindy guilty of the lesser included offense of possession of a controlled substance. § 204.401(3). The trial court sentenced them and they appealed.

On appeal defendants assert that the trial court erred in overruling their motion to suppress. They contend that the search warrant was invalid with respect to their residence for the following reasons: (1) the search warrant affidavit contained false statements which should be disregarded in determining probable cause, and in the absence of such statements no probable cause existed; (2) even if the false statements are considered the affidavit failed to show probable cause; (3) the issuance of a search warrant by a nonlawyer magistrate violated defendants' right to due process of law; and (4) a Washington County magistrate has no authority to issue a search warrant for property in Iowa County. Defendants do not challenge the warrant with regard to the Washington County field.

I. False statements. Defendants allege that Agent Timko made several false statements in the search warrant affidavit. They contend that those statements should have been deleted from the affidavit and the determination of probable cause made anew by the district court, citing Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 2676, 57 L.Ed.2d 667, 672 (1978). In the cited decision the United States Supreme Court held that where a defendant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence an affiant made a false statement in a search warrant affidavit knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, the Fourth Amendment requires the statement be deleted from the affidavit and the remaining contents be scrutinized to determine whether probable cause appears. If the remaining contents are insufficient to establish probable cause, the warrant is void and the evidence obtained in the search must be excluded as though probable cause was lacking on the face of the affidavit. Id. at 156, 98 S.Ct. at 2676,

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57 L.Ed.2d at 672. Defendants argue that when Timko's alleged false statements are removed from the affidavit, the remaining allegations are insufficient to show probable cause to search their residence. They therefore conclude that the district court erred in failing to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of their residence.

Before reaching the merits of defendants' veracity claim, however, we must dispose of two preliminary matters--the standard by which such claims are to be determined under the Iowa Constitution and the proper procedure for raising a veracity challenge.

A. Defendants' veracity claim is based on both the Iowa and United States Constitutions. The standard for determining such claims under both constitutions was originally explained in Iowa in State v. Boyd, 224 N.W.2d 609 (Iowa 1974). Four years later, however, the United States Supreme Court confronted the veracity issue in Franks and announced a more rigorous requirement for defendants in challenging the truthfulness of an affidavit. The Franks standard, of course, controls the disposition of veracity claims under the federal constitution, State v. Olsen, 293 N.W.2d 216, 219 (Iowa), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 993, 101 S.Ct. 530, 66 L.Ed.2d 290 (1980), and the less stringent Boyd standard would apply to the determination of such claims under the Iowa Constitution. After inviting our attention to this conflict, the State urges us to modify our holding in Boyd to make it consistent with Franks so that veracity claims based on both constitutions may be determined by a single standard. Defendants, on the other hand, assert that we should, as is our prerogative, interpret the Iowa Constitution to provide greater protection than the United States Supreme Court has found in comparable language of the federal constitution, and retain the Boyd standard as a matter of Iowa law.

In Boyd we held a search warrant could be invalidated when a defendant proves "that an agent or representative of the state has: (1) intentionally made false or untrue statements or otherwise practiced fraud upon the magistrate; or (2) that a material statement made by such agent or representative is false, whether intentional or not." 224 N.W.2d at 616 (emphasis added). In Franks the Supreme Court held that a defendant could challenge the veracity of an affidavit by showing that the affiant: (1) intentionally and knowingly made a false statement, or (2) made a false statement with reckless disregard for the truth. 438 U.S. at 155, 98 S.Ct. at 2676, 57 L.Ed.2d at 672.

Boyd and Franks both permit veracity challenges to false statements that are deliberately or intentionally made by the affiant. The two standards differ, however, as to the effect of a false statement included in an affidavit as a result of a good faith or innocent mistake by the affiant. Under Boyd such a statement, if material to a finding of probable cause, provides a basis for the invalidation of the warrant. 224 N.W.2d at 616. Under Franks such a statement would not be subject to challenge, as that standard requires a minimum that the statement be made with reckless disregard for the truth. 438 U.S. at 171, 98 S.Ct. at 2684, 57 L.Ed.2d at 682. See 2 W. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 4.4(b), at 61-64 (1978).

We conclude that the standard adopted in Boyd should be modified in light of Franks to provide a unified standard for testing veracity claims. Initially we note that the search and seizure clauses of the Iowa and United States Constitutions contain identical language. Compare U.S.Const. amend. IV, with Iowa Const. art. I, § 8. We have often said that where state and federal constitutional clauses contain a similar guarantee they are deemed to be identical in scope, import, and purpose. State v. Roth, 305 N.W.2d 501, 507 (Iowa 1981) (rule applied to search and seizure provisions of state and federal constitutions); State v. Davis, 304 N.W.2d 432, 434 (Iowa 1981); Redmond v. Ray, 268 N.W.2d 849, 852 (Iowa 1978); In re Johnson, 257 N.W.2d 47, 49 (Iowa 1977). Moreover, we have stated that "[w]e have an interest in harmonizing our constitutional decisions

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with those of the Supreme Court when reasonably possible, even though we recognize and will jealously guard...

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