Washington County District Court File No. K4996828
Garbage left on the street at the end of a private driveway for routine collection is not within the curtilage of the home and is not protected by the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 10 of the Minnesota Constitution.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anderson, Judge
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
Partially based on evidence obtained in a search of appellant's trash, a warrant was issued for the search of appellant's home. A search of appellant's home produced significant amounts of various drugs and other contraband. Appellant sought to have the warrant declared invalid as based on an illegal, warrantless search of her garbage and to have the fruits of the search suppressed. The district court denied appellant's motion to suppress. In a trial based on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1980), appellant was convicted of sale of a controlled substance—10 grams or more—in violation of Minn. Stat. §152.021, subd.1(1) (1998). Appellant challenges the district court's denial of her motion to suppress. Because we hold that the search of appellant's garbage was legal, we affirm.
A confidential informant (CI) advised police officer Marv Stutz that appellant Liza Marie Goebel was a "heavy controlled substance user," and as a consequence, appellant's children may be in jeopardy. Stutz went to appellant's residence and obtained several trash bags that had been set out for collection on the street at the end of the driveway in front of the residence. Stutz took at least two bags to the police station and searched them. In one of the bags, Stutz discovered a spoon with a white powdery residue that ultimately tested positive for cocaine.
Based on the report of the CI and the evidence found in appellant's trash, a search warrant for her home was issued. The subsequent search revealed 29.6 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, and currency in the amount of $36,908.67. After waiving her Miranda rights, appellant made incriminating statements regarding purchasing, breaking down, and selling drugs.
Appellant filed a motion seeking suppression of the evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant. The district court denied appellant's motion. Following a bench trial on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1980), appellant was convicted of sale of a controlled substance—10 grams or more—in violation of Minn. Stat. §152.021, subd.1(1) (1998).
Respondent argues that the issue concerning the legality of the trash search was not properly raised before the district court and is raised for the first time on appeal.
I. Did appellant adequately challenge the trash search before the district court, thereby properly ...