McLeod County District Court File No. 43CR12200.
Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael K. Junge, McLeod County Attorney, Glencoe, Minnesota (for respondent).
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Benjamin J. Butler, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Hooten, Judge; and Halbrooks, Judge.
On appeal from his conviction of third-degree possession of a controlled substance, appellant argues that (1) the search warrant authorizing a search of his home was unsupported by probable cause because the only evidence supporting it was recovered during an unconstitutional warrantless search of his garbage; (2) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel; and (3) his stipulated-facts trial under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3, was outside the scope of the rules of criminal procedure and failed to satisfy his constitutional right to an adversarial trial. We affirm.
In January 2012, local law enforcement received a tip regarding the use of controlled substances at appellant David McMurray's house. In response to the tip, Officer Andrew Erlandson conducted a search of the garbage sitting on the curb in front of appellant's house. During the search, Officer Erlandson discovered plastic baggies with white residue that tested positive for methamphetamine, drug pipes, and documents for appellant and his wife.
Officer Erlandson then sought and obtained a search warrant for appellant's residence. Upon execution of the warrant, law enforcement found appellant, his step-son, and a third individual upstairs in the master bedroom. Also discovered in the bedroom were 3.3 grams of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia.
Appellant was charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance. The charge was later amended to third-degree possession of a controlled substance. Appellant subsequently moved to suppress the evidence on the basis that the warrant authorizing the search was supported only by the fruits of an unconstitutional search of his trash. Following a contested omnibus hearing, the district court denied appellant's motion.
Appellant agreed to a stipulated-facts trial under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3. The district court found appellant guilty of third-degree possession of a controlled substance and sentenced appellant to 24 months, a downward-durational departure. This appeal followed.