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State v. DeLottinville

Supreme Court of Minnesota

February 15, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
Leona Rose DeLottinville, Appellant.

         Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Brandi Schiefelbein, Meeker County Attorney, Samuel P. Weeks, Assistant Meeker County Attorney, Litchfield, Minnesota, for respondent.

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sharon E. Jacks, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Cort C. Holten, Jeffrey D. Bores, Gary K. Luloff, Chestnut Cambronne P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Legal Defense Fund.


         Neither the United States Constitution nor the Minnesota Constitution requires police to obtain a search warrant before entering a third party's home to execute a lawfully issued arrest warrant for a guest.



          LILLEHAUG, Justice.

         This case presents the question of whether police, having obtained an arrest warrant, are required by the United States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution to obtain a search warrant to enter a third party's home to arrest the subject of the arrest warrant. Because we conclude that a search warrant is not required, we affirm.

         In 2015, appellant Leona Rose deLottinville was arrested and charged by complaint with two felonies: fifth-degree possession of methamphetamine and storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child. In ordering deLottinville's pretrial release, the district court imposed conditions that she not possess or consume alcoholic beverages or any mood-altering drugs, and that she be subject to random testing. DeLottinville acknowledged that a violation of the conditions of release could result in her arrest. When she failed several random tests, the State applied for an arrest warrant. The district court found probable cause that deLottinville had violated the conditions of her release and issued a warrant for her arrest. DeLottinville does not challenge the lawfulness of the arrest warrant.

         Five days later, responding to a tip, officers went to the residence of deLottinville's boyfriend, D.R., in Grove City. D.R. lived in an apartment in the lower level of his parents' house. Upon arriving, one officer spoke with D.R.'s mother at the front door while the other officer walked around to the back door to prevent anyone from fleeing. At the back of the house, the officer looked through a glass patio door and saw deLottinville. He opened the unlocked door, went inside, and arrested her.

         While arresting deLottinville, the officer saw marijuana and a bong on a countertop. There is no dispute that the items were in plain view. Later that day, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for D.R.'s apartment and discovered marijuana, methamphetamine, hydrocodone pills, and drug paraphernalia. The State charged deLottinville with two counts of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 2(a)(1) (2016); and possession of drug paraphernalia, Minn. Stat. § 152.092 (2016).

         On a motion to suppress, the district court ruled that deLottinville's arrest was illegal because the warrant for her arrest did not authorize police to enter D.R.'s apartment. The district court suppressed all fruits of the arrest and dismissed the charges. The court of appeals unanimously reversed, adopting the reasoning of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in United States v. Clifford, which held that a guest in a home does not have a greater expectation of privacy than the homeowner under the Fourth Amendment. State v. deLottinville, 877 N.W.2d 199, 204-05 (Minn.App. 2016) (citing 664 F.2d 1090, 1092-93 (8th Cir. 1981)). We granted review to decide whether either the United States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution requires that the evidence be suppressed.


         When reviewing a pretrial order on a motion to suppress evidence, we review the district court's factual findings under a clearly erroneous standard and its legal determinations de novo. See State v. Lugo, 887 N.W.2d 476, 483-85 (Minn. 2016).

         The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "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." U.S. Const. amend. IV. Fourth Amendment rights are "personal" and "may not be vicariously asserted." Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 174 (1969). As relevant here, standing to bring a Fourth Amendment claim hinges on whether deLottinville has "a legitimate expectation of privacy in the invaded place." Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 143 (1978). The parties agree that an overnight guest such as deLottinville has a legitimate expectation of privacy in her host's home. See Minnesota v. Olson, 495 U.S. 91, 98 (1990).

         The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue in this case, but two of its decisions set the boundaries of the legal analysis. In Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980), the Court announced that police may enter into the "dwelling in which the suspect lives" to execute an arrest warrant. Id. at 603. The Court reasoned, "If there is sufficient evidence of a citizen's participation in a felony to persuade a judicial officer that his arrest is justified, it is constitutionally reasonable to require him to open his doors to the officers of the law, " even though "an arrest warrant requirement may afford less protection than a search warrant requirement." Id. at 602-03. The Court explicitly reserved the question of whether the same holds true when the subject of an arrest warrant is believed to be present in another person's home. Id. at 583.

         The question Payton left open was explored, but not answered, in Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204 (1981). In Steagald, armed with an arrest warrant, police entered a third party's home to arrest a guest. Id. at 206. While police searched for the guest inside the home, they found evidence incriminating the homeowner. Id. at 206-07. The Court held that, with regard to the homeowner's Fourth Amendment rights, the arrest warrant for the guest did not justify entry into and search of the home. Id. at 216. The crux of the Court's reasoning was that, unlike a search warrant, an arrest warrant does not contain "a showing of probable cause to believe that the legitimate object of a search is located in a particular place." Id. at 213. Thus, the homeowner's "only protection from an illegal entry and search was the agent's personal determination of probable cause." Id. But the Court again confined its holding, limiting it to a challenge raised by "a person not named in the warrant." Id. at 212.

         In a nutshell, Payton describes the Fourth Amendment rights of a homeowner subject to an arrest warrant, while Steagald explains the rights of a homeowner when police execute an arrest warrant for a guest. But the Supreme Court has not yet defined the Fourth Amendment rights of those in deLottinville's position: guests subject to an arrest warrant.

         We conclude that Payton sets the ceiling on a guest's Fourth Amendment rights. A guest should not receive any greater Fourth Amendment protection when outside her home than when inside it. The home is "first among equals" under the Fourth Amendment, representing the "very core" of a person's constitutional protections. Florida v. Jardines, __U.S.__, __, 133 S.Ct. 1409, 1414 (2013) (quoting Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505, 511 (1961) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Yet Payton held that it is constitutionally reasonable for police to enter a person's own home when police have an arrest warrant for that person. Payton, 445 U.S. at 602. Because Fourth Amendment ...

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