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State v. Diamond

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 17, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Matthew Vaughn Diamond, Appellant.

         Carver County District Court File No. 10-CR-14-1286

         Affirmed

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Mark Metz, Carver County Attorney, Eric E. Doolittle, Assistant County Attorney, Chaska, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Steven P. Russett, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Johnson, Presiding Judge; Reyes, Judge; and Smith, Tracy M., Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A district court order compelling a criminal defendant to provide a fingerprint to unlock the defendant's cellphone does not violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination.

          OPINION

          SMITH, TRACY M., Judge

         Appellant Matthew Vaughn Diamond appeals his convictions of second-degree burglary, misdemeanor theft, and fourth-degree criminal damage to property following a jury trial. On appeal, Diamond argues his convictions must be reversed because: (1) police seized his property in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) the district court violated his Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination by ordering him to provide his fingerprint so police could search his cellphone; and (3) the state's circumstantial evidence was insufficient. We affirm.

         FACTS

         On October 30, 2014, M.H. left her Chaska home between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. to run errands. M.H. returned home around noon and noticed that the attached garage's side-entry door appeared to have been kicked in from the outside. M.H. called the police after discovering that a safe, a laptop, and several items of jewelry were missing from her home. While waiting for police to arrive, M.H. found an envelope in her driveway that had the name of S.W. written on it. Police took photographs and measurements of the shoeprints left on the garage's side-entry door.

         Detective Nelson of the Chaska Police Department used state databases to determine S.W.'s car model and license plate number and that S.W. had pawned several pieces of jewelry at a Shakopee pawn shop on October 30. M.H. later verified that the pawned jewelry was stolen from her home. On November 4, police located S.W.'s car, which Diamond was driving at the time. Diamond was arrested on an outstanding warrant unrelated to this case. He was booked at the Scott County jail, where staff collected and stored his property, including his shoes and cellphone.

         The following day, Detective Nelson went to the jail and viewed the property that was taken from Diamond. Detective Nelson observed similarities between the tread of Diamond's shoes and the shoeprints left on the garage's side-entry door. Detective Nelson informed the jail staff that she was going to seek a warrant to seize Diamond's property and gave instructions not to release the property to anyone. Later that day, S.W. attempted to collect Diamond's property but was told that it could not be released.

         On November 6, Detective Nelson obtained and executed a warrant to search for, and seize, Diamond's shoes and cellphone. On November 12, Detective Nelson obtained an additional warrant to search the contents of Diamond's cellphone. Detective Nelson was unable to unlock the cellphone. She returned the warrant on November 21.

         In December, the state filed a motion to compel Diamond to provide his fingerprint on the cellphone to unlock the phone. The motion was deferred to the contested omnibus hearing. Following that hearing, the district court issued an order, filed February 11, 2015, concluding that the warrant to search Diamond's cellphone was supported by probable cause and that compelling Diamond to provide his fingerprint to unlock the cellphone does not violate his Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. The district court granted the state's motion to compel and ordered Diamond to provide a fingerprint or thumbprint to unlock his cellphone. Diamond refused to comply. On April 3, the district court found Diamond in civil contempt and informed him that compliance with the order would remedy the civil contempt. Diamond provided his fingerprint, and police immediately searched his cellphone.

         At a second omnibus hearing Diamond challenged the refusal to release his cellphone and shoes to S.W., arguing that it constituted a warrantless seizure not justified by any exception to the warrant requirement. The district court's April 3 order concluded that the seizure was justified by exigent circumstances and was tailored to protect against the destruction of evidence while a warrant was sought and obtained. Diamond thereafter brought a pro se motion to suppress all evidence derived from his cellphone and shoes, which the district court denied, relying on the previous orders from February 11 and April 3.

         At Diamond's jury trial, S.W. testified that: (1) she believed she was working the day of the burglary; (2) the envelope found in M.H.'s driveway belonged to S.W., and it was in her car the last time she saw it; (3) S.W. sometimes let Diamond use her car when she was working; and (4) on the day of the burglary, Diamond gave her M.H.'s stolen jewelry, and the two of them traveled to the Shakopee pawn shop, where she sold the jewelry. In addition, the state also introduced evidence that: (1) Diamond's wallet and identification card were found in S.W.'s car; (2) Diamond and S.W. exchanged phone calls and text messages throughout the day of the burglary; (3) Diamond's cellphone pinged off cell towers near M.H.'s residence on the day of the burglary; (4) the tread pattern on Diamond's shoes was similar to the shoeprints on the garage's side-entry door; and (5) while in ...


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