State v. Randle, No. 95-1058

CourtIowa Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCARTER
Citation555 N.W.2d 666
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, Appellee, v. Ricky B. RANDLE, Appellant.
Decision Date23 October 1996
Docket NumberNo. 95-1058

Page 666

555 N.W.2d 666
STATE of Iowa, Appellee,
v.
Ricky B. RANDLE, Appellant.
No. 95-1058.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Oct. 23, 1996.

Page 668

Linda Del Gallo, State Appellate Defender, and Annette L. Hitchcock, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Robert P. Ewald, Assistant Attorney General, William E. Davis, County Attorney, and Hugh Pries, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by HARRIS, P.J., and CARTER, LAVORATO, SNELL, and TERNUS, JJ.

CARTER, Justice.

Defendant, Ricky B. Randle, who was convicted of possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver and of failing to affix a drug tax stamp, appeals, asserting (1) various defects in the search warrant involved in this case, and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict for possession with intent to deliver. After reviewing the record and considering the arguments presented, we affirm the convictions.

I. Background.

On February 1, 1995, officers of the Davenport Police Department executed a search warrant at 1122 North Harrison Street, Apartment 4, an apartment rented to Melinda Craig, defendant's girlfriend, and located across the street from Davenport Central High School. Inside, they found defendant and two other men: Anthony Nunn and Charles Ellison. Nunn and Ellison each had possession of controlled substances, a pager, and several hundred dollars in cash. The police seized $395 from defendant but found no controlled substances on his person. Throughout the apartment, the police found a digital scale, a sixty-channel scanner, two pagers, a letter mailed to defendant at the address searched, several small plastic sandwich bags, and on a chair in the living room a plastic bag containing approximately five grams of crack cocaine.

Defendant was charged by trial information with violating (1) Iowa Code section 124.401(1) (1993) (possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance), within 1000 feet of a public school in further violation of Iowa Code section 124.401A, and (2) Iowa Code chapter 453B (failure to affix a drug tax stamp). He filed a motion to suppress evidence seized in the search, alleging the warrant was invalid. The district court denied the motion.

At trial officer Doug Devine, who was involved in the search warrant execution, testified that defendant had been sitting in the chair where the crack was found. Paul Sikorski, another officer who participated in the search, testified that he did not see defendant sitting in that particular chair but that he observed him standing nearby. The jury heard evidence that approximately seven controlled buys had been made at the apartment in question, each buy yielding crack cocaine. The jury also heard evidence that the items seized from Melinda Craig's apartment were of a type associated with trafficking in controlled substances.

Anthony Nunn testified that the crack cocaine found in the chair belonged to Charles Ellison. According to Nunn, Ellison attempted to throw the crack out a window, but it landed in the chair. Nunn testified that he did not obtain the drugs in his possession from defendant. This witness also testified that he had never seen any drug dealing at Ms. Craig's apartment. Other facts will be discussed in connection with our consideration of the legal issues presented.

II. Validity of the Search Warrant.

Defendant contends that the search warrant is defective for three reasons: first, it lacked specificity as to the premises to be searched; second, it was not supported by probable cause; and third, it lacked particularity as to the items and places to be searched. Because a constitutional challenge to the warrant's validity is presented, we review these issues de novo. State v. Thomas, 540 N.W.2d 658, 661 (Iowa 1995). Our review is limited to a consideration of only that information, reduced to writing, which was actually presented to the magistrate at the time application for the warrant was

Page 669

made. State v. Weir, 414 N.W.2d 327, 329 (Iowa 1987).

A. Whether the warrant sufficiently identified the premises to be searched. The search warrant at issue describes the apartment to be searched as follows:

1122 N. Harrison St. Apt. # 4 which is a red brick building on the west side of Harrison St. The 3rd building north of 11th St. Apartment # 4 is an upstairs apartment.

Defendant urges that the warrant lacked particularity as required by the Iowa and federal constitutions because it does not identify the city in which the premises to be searched were located. He argues that because of that omission there was a reasonable probability that another place might be mistakenly searched. We disagree.

We have never addressed this precise issue. In deciding whether a search warrant that omits the city but includes a physical description of the premises to be searched, the street address, apartment number, county, and state is invalid, we turn first to our search warrant statute, which requires the applicant for a warrant to "describe the ... place ... to be searched ... with sufficient particularity to enable an independent reasonable person with reasonable effort to ascertain the ... place." Iowa Code § 808.3 (1993); see U.S. Const. amend. IV ("particularly describing the place to be searched"); Iowa Const. art. I, § 8 (same). The particularity requirement ensures that nothing is "left to the discretion of the official executing the warrant." Thomas, 540 N.W.2d at 662. We have stated that this does not mean "that a hypertechnical, perfectly accurate description must be provided." Id.

A warrant sufficiently describes the location to be searched "if the description is such that the officer with a search warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place to be searched." Steele v. United States, 267 U.S. 498, 503, 45 S.Ct. 414, 416, 69 L.Ed. 757, 760 (1925); accord State v. Moore, 125 Iowa 749, 751, 101 N.W. 732, 733 (1904). Here the warrant is particular enough to satisfy statutory and constitutional standards. The warrant and application listed the street address, apartment number, county, and state. It noted that the building was a red brick apartment building. It noted that it was "the 3rd building north of 11th St." It noted that apartment 4 was an upstairs apartment. With reasonable effort, the officers executing the warrant could locate the premises described, even though the city in which it was located was omitted from the warrant and application. There is nothing to suggest that there was any other red brick building at 1122 N. Harrison St. anywhere else in Scott County, Iowa, or any other evidence that omission of Davenport from the description of the premises would cause confusion. Other courts considering search warrants that did not identify the city in which the premises to be searched were located have upheld the warrant's validity notwithstanding that omission. People v. Leahy, 173 Colo. 339, 484 P.2d 778, 781 (1970); People v. Fragoso, 68 Ill.App.3d 428, 25 Ill.Dec. 138, 142-43, 386 N.E.2d 409, 413-14 (1979); State v. LeFort, 248 Kan. 332, 806 P.2d 986, 990 (1991); Commonwealth v. Walsh, 409 Mass. 642, 568 N.E.2d 1136, 1138-39 (1991); Nottingham v. State, 505 P.2d 1345, 1347 (Okla.Crim.App.1973); Bridges v. State, 574 S.W.2d 560, 562 (Tex.Crim.App.1978). We reach a similar result in the present case.

B. Whether the warrant was supported by...

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58 practice notes
  • State v. Kern, No. 11–1208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 24, 2013
    ...(1988)). We review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence presented at trial for correction of errors of law. State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 671 (Iowa 1996). The essential question before the court on a challenge to sufficiency of the evidence is whether there was substantial evide......
  • State Of Wis. v. Sveum, No. 2008AP658-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 20, 2010
    ...... is to sever the infirm portion of the search warrant from the remainder which passes constitutional muster.”); Iowa v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 671 (Iowa 1996) (same). 10. This argument was best articulated in Sveum's brief-in-chief submitted to the court of appeals. Brief of Defendant-A......
  • State v. Harrison, No. 12–0139.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 2, 2014
    ...a tip from a citizen informant, a tip from a confidential informant is not entitled to a presumption of reliability. See State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 669 (Iowa 1996) (“Because the confidential informant was not a citizen informant, the informant was not entitled to a presumption of reli......
  • State v. Thomas, No. 12–1491.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 30, 2014
    ...of drug paraphernalia in the accused's residence may, in certain instances, support a finding of possession. See State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 668, 672 (Iowa 1996) (examining a scenario where police found $395 on an accused). We have also explained, however, that even where an illegal su......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
58 cases
  • State v. Kern, No. 11–1208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 24, 2013
    ...(1988)). We review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence presented at trial for correction of errors of law. State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 671 (Iowa 1996). The essential question before the court on a challenge to sufficiency of the evidence is whether there was substantial evide......
  • State Of Wis. v. Sveum, No. 2008AP658-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 20, 2010
    ...... is to sever the infirm portion of the search warrant from the remainder which passes constitutional muster.”); Iowa v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 671 (Iowa 1996) (same). 10. This argument was best articulated in Sveum's brief-in-chief submitted to the court of appeals. Brief of Defendant-A......
  • State v. Harrison, No. 12–0139.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 2, 2014
    ...a tip from a citizen informant, a tip from a confidential informant is not entitled to a presumption of reliability. See State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 669 (Iowa 1996) (“Because the confidential informant was not a citizen informant, the informant was not entitled to a presumption of reli......
  • State v. Thomas, No. 12–1491.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 30, 2014
    ...of drug paraphernalia in the accused's residence may, in certain instances, support a finding of possession. See State v. Randle, 555 N.W.2d 666, 668, 672 (Iowa 1996) (examining a scenario where police found $395 on an accused). We have also explained, however, that even where an illegal su......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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