State v. Pederson, s. 20100364

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
Writing for the CourtVANDE WALLE, Chief Justice.
Citation801 N.W.2d 723,2011 ND 155
PartiesSTATE of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appelleev.Kyle Steven PEDERSON, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberNos. 20100364,20100365.,s. 20100364
Decision Date18 August 2011

801 N.W.2d 723
2011 ND 155

STATE of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Kyle Steven PEDERSON, Defendant and Appellant.

Nos. 20100364

20100365.

Supreme Court of North Dakota.

Aug. 18, 2011.


[801 N.W.2d 724]

Haley L. Wamstad (appeared), Assistant State's Attorney, David Thomas Jones (on brief), Assistant State's Attorney, and Abby Siewart (argued), third-year law student, Grand Forks, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

[801 N.W.2d 725]

Blake Dylan Hankey (argued), and Kelsy Gentzlow (appeared), third-year law student, Grand Forks, N.D., for defendant and appellant.VANDE WALLE, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] Kyle Pederson appealed from a district court order denying his motion to suppress evidence, which we treat as an appeal from the subsequently entered criminal judgment. Pederson argues the district court erred in denying his motion because any evidence obtained after law officers unlawfully entered his motel room and arrested him must be suppressed under the fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree doctrine and any statements he made during the interrogation must be suppressed because he invoked his right to counsel. We affirm.

I

[¶ 2] Pederson became a suspect in multiple armed robberies in the Grand Forks area. On December 22, 2009, the district court issued a search warrant for Pederson's residence. Law officers began conducting surveillance on Pederson's house and followed Pederson when he left his home with a confidential informant. Pederson and the confidential informant went to a motel and reserved a room. Later that night the confidential informant left the motel room and met with law officers. The confidential informant told the officers that Pederson had been using a BB gun to commit the robberies but he was attempting to purchase a shotgun. The informant also said Pederson was becoming a little less stable and possibly more violent.

[¶ 3] The law officers decided to arrest Pederson based on the information the confidential informant provided. Four officers went to the motel room, carrying firearms and dressed in SWAT t-shirts and body armor. When the officers arrived at the motel room the door was approximately four inches ajar. One of the officers knocked on the door and the door opened approximately three-fourths of the way. The officers announced themselves and yelled “come out, show me your hands.” Pederson started to come out of the bathroom, but ducked back in, and then came out with his hands up. All four officers had their weapons drawn and pointed at Pederson. One of the officers asked Pederson if they could enter and Pederson consented. After the officers entered the room, they ordered Pederson to lay on the floor and handcuffed him.

[¶ 4] Pederson was placed under arrest and taken to the police station for questioning. Pederson was informed he was under arrest and he was advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Pederson agreed to talk to the officers and signed a waiver of his rights before the interview began. On December 23, 2009, at approximately 12:30 a.m., three different officers began interviewing Pederson about the robberies. The interview was recorded. The officers questioned Pederson about the robberies and told him they thought he was involved. The officers questioned Pederson about what he told the confidential informant, and Pederson said:

A. Putting what togeth ... I mean, that's... I didn't say nothin' to the guy. What did I say, what ... I don't know what to say, I mean ... you're gonna sit there and beat this up, I mean, I'm getting a lawyer then or something, I mean this, it ain't got nothin' to do with me. I'm fuckin' telling you guys, it's got nothin' to do with me, I ain't no fuckin', go through my record, look at me, I'm not a violent person, okay. I don't do that, I don't steal, I ain't, you know, I've

[801 N.W.2d 726]

been living an honest, fuckin' life. I don't do nothin' but work. I've been, I've had a job steady since I was like 14 years old, you know. And I got into the dope and I've lost it all and here I am.

Q. Can I give you my theory on this?

A. Sure.

Q. Do you want to keep talking with us here?

A. Yeah, I mean... sure. I got nothin' to hide, I'm not lying about it.

Pederson continued to talk to the officers and he eventually confessed he was involved in the robberies.

[¶ 5] On December 23, 2009, Pederson was charged with one count of robbery. On January 6, 2010, Pederson was charged with five more counts of robbery, one count of possession of controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia for use with oxycodone, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia for use with marijuana.

[¶ 6] Pederson moved to suppress, arguing all evidence seized after he was arrested should be suppressed because he was illegally arrested at the motel without a warrant, and any statements he made during the interrogation should be suppressed because he invoked the right to an attorney. After a hearing, the district court denied Pederson's motion, ruling the officers lawfully entered the motel room because Pederson voluntarily consented to the entry. The court concluded the statements made during the interrogation should not be suppressed because Pederson did not unambiguously request an attorney. Pederson conditionally plead guilty on August 26, 2010, reserving the right to raise the suppression issues on appeal from the judgment of conviction.

II

[¶ 7] Pederson appealed from a district court order denying his motion to suppress evidence. An order denying a motion to suppress is not an appealable order under N.D.C.C. § 29–28–06. State v. Decoteau, 2004 ND 139, ¶ 7, 681 N.W.2d 803. However, we treat an attempted appeal as an appeal from the subsequently entered consistent judgment on which Pederson may raise the suppression issue. Id. We will treat this case as an appeal from the judgments entered on October 6, 2010.

[¶ 8] In reviewing a district court's decision on a motion to suppress, this Court will:

defer to a [district] court's findings of fact in the disposition of a motion to suppress. Conflicts in testimony will be resolved in favor of affirmance, as we recognize the trial court is in a superior position to assess credibility of witnesses and weigh the evidence. Generally, a [district] court's decision to deny a motion to suppress will not be reversed if there is sufficient competent evidence capable of supporting the [district] court's findings, and if its decision is not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

State v. Woinarowicz, 2006 ND 179, ¶ 20, 720 N.W.2d 635 (quoting State v. Linghor, 2004 ND 224, ¶ 3, 690 N.W.2d 201); City of Fargo v. Thompson, 520 N.W.2d 578 (N.D.1994). Questions of law are fully reviewable on appeal. Woinarowicz, at ¶ 20. Whether findings of fact meet a legal standard is a question of law. State v. Kitchen, 1997 ND 241, ¶ 12, 572 N.W.2d 106.
III

[¶ 9] Pederson argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained after the officers entered his motel room. He contends his arrest was illegal because he did not voluntarily

[801 N.W.2d 727]

consent to the officers' entry into his motel room, and therefore all evidence obtained after the entry must be suppressed. Pederson does not contend there was any evidence obtained from the motel room that should have been suppressed.

[¶ 10] Unreasonable searches and seizures are prohibited by U.S. Const. amend. IV and N.D. Const. art. I, § 8. The Fourth Amendment prohibits police from making a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect's home to make a routine felony arrest. Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 590, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639 (1980). Fourth Amendment protections also apply to temporary dwellings such as a motel room. See Stoner v. California, 376 U.S. 483, 490, 84 S.Ct. 889, 11 L.Ed.2d 856 (1964); see also Woinarowicz, 2006 ND 179, ¶¶ 21–23, 720 N.W.2d 635. A warrantless entry is unreasonable and prohibited by the Fourth Amendment unless it falls within one of the recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement. Woinarowicz, at ¶ 21. Voluntary consent is one exception, and whether an officer has consent is a question of fact. Id. To determine whether consent was freely and voluntarily given and not the product of coercion, a court must consider the totality of the circumstances, including the characteristics and condition of the accused at the time he consented and the details of the setting in which the consent was obtained. City of Fargo v. Ellison, 2001 ND 175, ¶ 13, 635 N.W.2d 151. “To be voluntary, the consent must not be coerced by explicit or implicit means or by implied threat or covert force.” State v. Avila, 1997 ND 142, ¶ 16, 566 N.W.2d 410.

[¶ 11] The district court found the officers did not unlawfully enter Pederson's motel room, because Pederson consented to the entry. The court determined:

Since Mr. Pederson allowed entry, the police did not need a warrant. At that point in time, the Defendant waived his 4th Amendment right. The Defendant argues that since the police were armed, however, the waiver was not voluntary. There was sufficient credible evidence presented during hearing to indicate that the police had legitimate safety concerns as they approached Mr. Pederson's room. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the court determines that the preponderance of evidence establishes that Mr. Pederson voluntarily consented to law enforcement entering his motel room.

[¶ 12] However, there is insufficient evidence to support the district court's determination that Pederson voluntarily consented to the officers' entry. There was evidence there were four officers at the motel room door with their weapons drawn, they yelled and ordered the room occupants to come out with their hands up, Pederson came out of the bathroom with his hands up, and the officers asked if they could come into the room before ordering Pederson to the ground. Generally, courts have...

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4 cases
  • State v. Whitman, 20120374.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 22 Octubre 2013
    ...to invoke his right to counsel. Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 459–62, 114 S.Ct. 2350, 129 L.Ed.2d 362 (1994); State v. Pederson, 2011 ND 155, ¶ 19, 801 N.W.2d 723. [¶ 22] Whitman argues he invoked his Miranda right to counsel and any subsequent statements made to law enforcement sho......
  • State v. Pederson, No. 20100364 & 20100365
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 18 Agosto 2011
    ...2011 ND 155State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appelleev. Kyle Steven Pederson, Defendant and AppellantNos. 20100364 & 20100365SUPREME COURT STATE OF NORTH DAKOTAFiled: August 18, 2011 This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. Appeal from the District Court of Grand Forks County, ......
  • State v. Ostby, 20130411.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 23 Septiembre 2014
    ...is not appealable in itself, but is reviewable in an appeal from the subsequently entered criminal judgment. See, e.g., State v. Pederson, 2011 ND 155, ¶ 7, 801 N.W.2d 723, State v. Decoteau, 2004 ND 139, ¶ 7, 681 N.W.2d 803 ; State v. Klodt, 298 N.W.2d 783 n. 1 (N.D.1980). [¶ 6] Our standa......
  • Chisholm v. State, 20150099.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 1 Diciembre 2015
    ...16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). To cease all questioning, a suspect must invoke his Miranda rights clearly and unambiguously. State v. Pederson, 2011 ND 155, ¶ 19, 801 N.W.2d 723. If a suspect makes a statement regarding his rights that is unclear, the police are not required to cease questioning. I......

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