Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and John J. Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant County Attorney, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent.
Mark D. Nyvold, Special Assistant State Public Defender, Fridley, Minnesota, for appellant.
Cort C. Holten, Jeffrey D. Bores, Chestnut Cambronne PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Legal Defense Fund.
Because the information in the search warrant affidavit established a sufficient nexus between appellant's criminal activity and the residence to be searched, the judge issuing the warrant had a substantial basis to find probable cause that handgun and drug evidence would be found at the residence.
After appellant LaDream Hampton Yarbrough allegedly threatened a woman in a public park for stealing his drugs, police prepared a search warrant affidavit, obtained a warrant from a judge, and conducted a search of Yarbrough's Saint Paul residence. They seized gun and drug evidence. The question presented in this case is whether the search warrant affidavit established a sufficient nexus between Yarbrough's alleged criminal activity and the place to be searched. Because it did, we conclude that the issuing judge had a substantial basis to find probable cause that handgun and drug evidence would be found at Yarbrough's residence. We affirm.
On May 7, 2012, Yarbrough allegedly confronted a woman at a Saint Paul public park and accused her of stealing "a large amount" of his crack cocaine. Yarbrough brandished a silver handgun with a black grip to threaten her. Yarbrough then left the scene in a maroon Chevrolet Caprice bearing a specified Minnesota license plate number ending in "X." Yarbrough's roommate drove the car.
Using databases, Saint Paul police officers discovered that Yarbrough and his roommate lived in an apartment on West 7th Street. Officers observed the maroon Chevrolet Caprice with the specified license plate number parked at the rear of the apartment building. The vehicle was registered to Yarbrough's roommate at that address.
Officers also learned from a confidential reliable informant that Yarbrough was a known dealer of crack cocaine and carried a handgun. Yarbrough had been arrested on February 14, 2012, for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. At the time of that arrest, Yarbrough's roommate was with him in the same maroon Chevrolet Caprice.
Based on this information, on May 10, 2012, officers applied for a warrant to search Yarbrough, the maroon Chevrolet Caprice, and the apartment. That same day, a Ramsey County judge issued the warrant. Among other things, the warrant authorized the officers to search the apartment for firearms, ammunition, papers showing control of the residence, and controlled substances.
The next day officers arrested Yarbrough. Then they executed the search warrant at the apartment. During the search, officers recovered a large amount of cash, a silver handgun with a black grip that was later determined to be stolen, ammunition, and drugs. The State charged Yarbrough in Ramsey County District Court with felony possession of cocaine, Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subd. 2(a)(1) (2012); felony possession of marijuana, Minn. Stat. § ...