State v. Iron Necklace

Citation430 N.W.2d 66
Decision Date21 September 1988
Docket NumberNos. 15759,15787,s. 15759
PartiesSTATE of South Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Dorothy L. IRON NECKLACE and Clayton Iron Necklace, Defendants and Appellants.
CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota

Frank Geaghan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Pierre, for plaintiff and appellee; Roger A. Tellinghuisen, Atty. Gen., Pierre, on brief.

Diane Billings Beck, Aberdeen, for defendant and appellant Dorothy L. Iron Necklace.

Matthew R. Metzgar of Gillette, McClure & Metzgar, Redfield, for defendant and appellant Clayton Iron Necklace.

MORGAN, Justice.

Dorothy Iron Necklace and Clayton Iron Necklace (Dorothy, Clayton, and collectively Iron Necklaces or appellants), appeal from jury verdicts convicting them of grand theft and burglary. We affirm.

Appellants raise some sixteen issues which will be defined in the course of the opinion.

On the morning of September 11, 1986, the Spink County Sheriff's Office received a report of a jewelry theft at the Stacey Drug Store in Redfield, South Dakota. As a result of the investigation and some information available, which will be discussed in detail in issue one, hereafter, Deputy Sheriff Albright (Albright), of the Spink County Sheriff's Office, put out a bulletin requesting that an orange Caprice with Washington license plates be stopped and the occupants be held for questioning with regard to the theft.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. that evening, two Faulk County sheriff's deputies observed the orange Mercury Caprice parked on the roadside west of Faulkton. Appellants, their children and the automobile were transported to the Faulk County Sheriff's Office in Faulkton. Albright was notified and immediately drove to Faulkton. Upon Albright's arrival, he requested permission of appellants that he be permitted to search their car. Permission was first given, but later withdrawn before a search could be started. Albright then gave Clayton his Miranda warning and began questioning him when he waived counsel. Shortly after questioning began, Clayton then asked for an attorney and the questioning ceased. Albright then sought to question Dorothy, but she asked for counsel immediately after receiving her Miranda warning, so no further questioning was done.

Albright then returned to Redfield and consulted with the state's attorney regarding obtaining a search warrant to search the car. The state's attorney decided that Albright should first check the Aberdeen pawn shops to see if any of the jewelry had been pawned. In the meantime, appellants were transported to Aberdeen where they were held and the children were put into foster care.

While appellants were being detained in the Faulk County Sheriff's Office, Clayton was observed tearing up some paper into small pieces. After appellants were moved to Aberdeen the sheriff retrieved the small pieces from the wastebasket, pieced them together and then advised Albright that he had recovered insured mail receipts showing Kent, Washington as the destination.

The next morning, Albright and DCI Agent Jerry Lindberg (Lindberg) visited various pawn shops in Aberdeen as Albright had been directed by the state's attorney. Albright also had a business card from one of the shops that had been recovered from Dorothy's purse pursuant to an inventory search during booking procedures into the Aberdeen jail. The inquiry resulted in recovery of a number of Black Hills gold rings allegedly pawned by appellants, together with the tickets signed by Dorothy.

Albright and Lindberg next visited the Aberdeen post office, from whence the insured mail receipts originated. The result of the investigation into the mail receipts was the retrieval by the prosecution of three packages from an address in Kent, Washington, each containing Black Hills Gold rings.

Appellants sought suppression of all of the evidence heretofore mentioned by pretrial motion and the first issue raised by appellants is the trial court's failure to suppress the evidence urged to be "tainted fruit of the poisonous tree" resulting from an illegal arrest. The crux of this issue is whether the stop and detention was a violation of appellants' Fourth Amendment rights due to lack of probable cause.

This court has on numerous occasions defined "probable cause." In State v. Oyen, 286 N.W.2d 317, 318-19 (S.D.1979), we said:

Probable cause for arrest exists where facts and circumstances within a police officer's knowledge of which he had reasonably trustworthy information 'are sufficient in themselves to warrant a belief by a man of reasonable caution that a crime has been.... committed.' (Citation omitted.)

See also Terry v. State of Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968); Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949); Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 45 S.Ct. 280, 69 L.Ed. 543 (1925). In State v. Moves Camp, 286 N.W.2d 333, 336 (S.D.1979), we said:

[P]roof beyond a reasonable doubt is not required. While good faith on the part of the arresting officers is not enough, officers need only be reasonable and prudent, and they need not operate as legal technicians. (Citation omitted.)

See also Brinegar, supra.

In determining whether the trial court erred in denying appellants' motion to suppress evidence, this court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to support the trial court's decision. Moves Camp, supra; State v. DuBois, 286 N.W.2d 801 (S.D.1979); State v. Kiehn, 86 S.D. 549, 199 N.W.2d 594 (1972). Once the trial court has entered a finding, that finding is binding on this court unless such finding is clearly erroneous. DuBois, supra; State v. Lyons, 269 N.W.2d 124 (S.D.1978).

The Iron Necklaces and their children were detained by two Faulk County Deputy Sheriffs as previously noted. The deputies acted in response to a teletype bulletin to law enforcement agencies issued by Deputy Sheriff Albright (Albright) of the Spink County Sheriff's Office. That bulletin read substantially as follows:










The bulletin was apparently sent out at 2:46 p.m. on September 11, 1986.

The genesis of this message was the report to the Spink County Sheriff's Office of the theft of jewelry from Stacey's Drug Store in Redfield. Investigation by a Redfield police officer gave authorities the descriptions of four individuals, described above, and a couple more "locals" who had been in the store during the period when the theft was believed to have occurred. Albright remembered seeing a teletype received that very morning from the Gettysburg Police Department warning authorities to be on the "lookout" for an orange Mercury Caprice driven by Dorothy Iron Necklace, other occupants: two children and an Indian male, age 25 to 30, with bruise on his nose, identified as Robert S. Smith (Smith). Albright obviously noted the striking similarity between the general descriptions given by the Stacey Drug personnel and the Gettysburg teletype: two adults, one white female and one Indian male with a sore nose; two children, one male and one female. Albright checked the national crime computer for information on Dorothy Iron Necklace and Smith. He also talked to a Mobridge police officer who advised him that Dorothy and Clayton Iron Necklace had been staying in Mobridge for the last two weeks and that they were accompanied by another individual who was then being held in jail on a shoplifting charge. The Mobridge police officer also advised Albright that Clayton Iron Necklace had pawned jewelry in the Mobridge area. Albright then checked the name of Clayton Iron Necklace in the national crime computer and found that he had an extensive arrest record in Washington State, but nothing at that time in South Dakota. Based on the information that he had collected, as noted above, Albright then put out the bulletin which resulted in appellants' detention.

The trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting denial of the suppression motion. The pertinent findings in the Clayton Iron Necklace case include:


That insured mail receipts were found by Sheriff Wheery on September 11, 1986 in the Faulk County Sheriff Office's wastebasket. These slips were discovered by Sheriff Wheery after he observed Dorothy Iron Necklace and Clayton Iron Necklace looking for something in Dorothy Iron Necklace's purse and Clayton Iron Necklace's pockets. After the Iron Necklaces left the Sheriff's office, Sheriff Wheery looked around the area where the Iron Necklaces had been sitting and in the waste basket. Sheriff Wheery pieced together several torn up slips of paper that when pieced together were three insured mail receipts from the Aberdeen, South Dakota Post Office. The court specifically finds that these receipts were not taken from the person of either Dorothy Iron Necklace or Clayton Iron Necklace or from their belongings.



That on September 11, 1986, Deputy Albright did read and explain to Defendant his Miranda rights. The Court specifically finds that this occurred at the Faulk County Sheriff's Office and prior to Sheriff Wheery finding the insured mail receipts.


The Court finds that on September...

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  • State v. Owens
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 10, 2002 it, in its discretion, believes necessary and proper." This decision is within the discretion of the trial court. State v. Iron Necklace, 430 N.W.2d 66, 77 (S.D.1988); People v. Fort, 248 Ill.App.3d 301, 187 Ill.Dec. 854, 618 N.E.2d 445, 453 (1993),cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1134, 114 S.Ct. ......
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