State v. Sheridan

Citation247 N.W.2d 232
Decision Date17 November 1976
Docket NumberNo. 58443,58443
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, Appellee, v. Thomas Rowland SHERIDAN, Appellant.
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Phillip F. Miller, Des Moines, for appellant.

Richard C. Turner, Atty. Gen., Jim P. Robbins, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Ray A. Fenton, County Atty., for appellee.

Considered en banc.

MOORE, Chief Justice.

Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, Court I (marijuana) and Count II (hashish) in violation of section 204.401(1), Code 1973, and possession of a controlled substance Count III (Lysergic Acid Dithamide), Count IV (Methaqualone) and Count V (Amobarbital) in violation of section 204.401(3), Code 1973. We affirm.

Defendant-appellant's first two assigned errors assert his pretrial motion to suppress all evidence in regard to search of his Des Moines home and seizure of quantities of the above-named controlled substances should have been sustained. He attacks the validity of the search warrant issued by Magistrate Ben E. Kubby first on procedural grounds and then on grounds of insufficient evidence to establish probable cause.

The evidence taken at defendant's motion to suppress hearing included testimony of police officer Larry Leitzke of the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (M.A.N.S.). Leitzke testified defendant had been under surveillance by members of M.A.N.S. prior to February 14, 1975 when he conducted and witnessed a drug purchase at defendant's home through use of an undercover informant. Late that night Leitzke went to Magistrate Kubby's home to obtain a warrant for the search of defendant's home. Prior to appearing before Magistrate Kubby, Officer Leitzke prepared a search warrant and a form for the magistrate's endorsement thereon containing an abstract of evidence to be presented to the magistrate. Leitzke orally testified before Magistrate Kubby to the facts contained in the abstract he had prepared. Thereafter Magistrate Kubby made certain requisite notations in parts of the search warrant (not here involved) and specifically found the information to justify probable cause and thereafter issued the warrant. The magistrate signed the endorsement thereon containing the prepared abstract of evidence.

I. Defendant first contends the search warrant was invalid on the ground Magistrate Kubby had not performed his required statutory duty because he did not personally prepare the abstract of testimony and acted only as a 'rubber stamp' when he endorsed the abstract of evidence. Of course a magistrate must never become a 'rubber stamp' for the police. Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 110, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 1512, 12 L.Ed.2d 723, 727.

The requirements for issuance of a search warrant are enumerated in Code section 751.4. It includes:

'If the magistrate thereafter issues the search warrant, he shall endorse on the application the name and address of all persons upon whose sworn testimony he relied to issue such warrant together with an abstract of such witness' testimony.

District Judge Anthony M. Critelli, who heard defendant's motion to suppress, in his findings and conclusions noted he was not aware of one authority which in 'any manner or degree condemns the practice followed herein,' He found: 'The magistrate's signature at the bottom of the instrument indicates that he approves, accepts, and Adopts the prepared instrument and it has the same force and effect as if he had personally prepared same.' We agree.

Our research has led us to only one case dealing with officer-prepared abstracts of testimony in the area of search warrant proceedings. The following footnote is found in United States v. Pike, 5 Cir., 523 F.2d 734, 737-738:

'Appellant Lee also challenges the local Birmingham procedure whereby a completed search warrant is presented to the magistrate who then places the submitting officer under oath and conducts an inquiry into the existence or nonexistence of sufficient probable cause to support the particular search. The more typical procedure involves the submission of a sworn affidavit. The real difference in a probable cause evaluation made on the basis of factual matters set out in an affidavit or in a completed search warrant is difficult to see. As long as the magistrate does conduct a meaningfully independent inquiry before affixing his signature, the constitutional standards should be regarded as met. In all events, the magistrate's 'determination of probable cause should be paid great deference by reviewing courts,' Spinelli v. United States, 1969, 393 U.S. 410, 419, 89 S.Ct. 584, 591, 21 L.Ed.2d 637; United States v. Hill, 5th Cir. 1974, 500 F.2d 315, 319, and in the absence of arbitrariness, that determination is conclusive. Bastida v. Henderson, 5th Cir. 1973, 487 F.2d 860, 863, citing Castle v. United States, 5th Cir. 1961, 287 F.2d 657.' (Our emphasis).

II. Defendant-appellant next attacks the validity of the search warrant on the ground of insufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the issuance thereof.

This court in State v. Spier, Iowa, 173 N.W.2d 854, discussed and analyzed at length the duty of a magistrate in considering and determining probable cause for issuance of a search warrant. The pertinent quotations from pages 858-859 of Spier are:

'Amendment 4 of the United States Constitution provides: 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, But upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.' (Emphasis supplied).

'To the same effect is section 8, Article I, of the Iowa Constitution.

'It therefore follows a search warrant may issue only upon an adequate showing, under oath or affirmation, or probable cause.

'Touching on that subject the court said in Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 1310, 93 L.Ed. 1879: 'In dealing with probable cause, however, as the very name implies, we deal with probabilities. These are not technical; they are the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act. The standard of proof is accordingly correlative to what must be proved.'

'This was later repeated, with approval, in Beck v. State of Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91, 85 S.Ct. 223, 226, 13 L.Ed.2d 142.

'Unquestionably a Warrant-issuing magistrate, in determining the matter of probable cause, Must judge for himself the persuasiveness of facts relied on by an applicant, mere conclusions being totally inadequate. Giordenello v. United States, 357 U.S. 480, 486, 78 S.Ct. 1245, 1250, 2 L.Ed.2d 1503.

'Thus, a magistrate is required to make an objective determination of the factual situation presented to him on oath or affirmation, mere subjective findings or conclusions of an applicant-officer being insufficient and of no probative value. See Beck v. Ohio, supra, at 379 U.S. 97, 85 S.Ct. 229.'

More recently in State v. Boer, Iowa, 224 N.W.2d 217, 219, 220, we said:

'Probable cause for issuance of a search warrant exists only when the facts and circumstances presented to the judicial officer are sufficient in themselves to justify the belief of a man of reasonable caution that an offense has been or is being committed. State v. Everett, 214 N.W.2d 214, 217, (Iowa 1974). It cannot be established unless the issuing officer has sufficient facts, as opposed to mere conclusions, to make his own determination that it exists. State v. Lynch, 197 N.W.2d 186, 191-192 (Iowa 1972); State v. Salazar, 174 N.W.2d 453 (Iowa 1970); State v. Spier, 173 N.W.2d 854 (Iowa 1970); see Giordenello v. United States, 357 U.S. 480, 486, 78 S.Ct. 1245, 1250, 2 L.Ed.2d 1503, 1509 (1958) ('The ...

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8 cases
  • State v. King, 59140
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 29, 1977
    ...Group v. Merryweather, 214 N.W.2d 184, 189 (Iowa 1974). In keeping therewith we initially note our summarization in State v. Sheridan, 247 N.W.2d 232, 234-235 (Iowa "This court in State v. Spier, Iowa, 173 N.W.2d 854, discussed and analyzed at length the duty of a magistrate in considering ......
  • Latham v. Sullivan, 2-63201
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • May 30, 1980
    ...217, 219-21 (Iowa 1974). Just as the magistrate may not become a "rubber stamp" for the police in issuing warrants, State v. Sheridan, 247 N.W.2d 232, 233 (Iowa 1976), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 929, 97 S.Ct. 2631, 53 L.Ed.2d 244 (1977), it would seem to be equally impermissible for magistrates......
  • State v. Myers, 84-1908
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 19, 1986 have begun with the leading case of Grismore v. Consolidated Products, 232 Iowa 328, 5 N.W.2d 646 (1942). See State v. Sheridan, 247 N.W.2d 232, 235-36 (1976) ("Beginning with ... Grismore ... we have repeatedly held a general objection to opinion testimony that the question invades the ......
  • State v. Sykes, 86-975
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 23, 1987
    ...magistrate's signature on the bottom of officer Stainbrook's affidavit is sufficient to satisfy that requirement. In State v. Sheridan, 247 N.W.2d 232 (Iowa 1976), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 929, 97 S.Ct. 2631, 53 L.Ed.2d 244 (1977), we held that a magistrate's signature at the bottom of an ins......
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