Nicollet County District Court File No. 52-CR-17-468
Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and
Michelle M. Zehnder Fischer, Nicollet County Attorney, Megan
E. Gaudette Coryell, Assistant County Attorney, St. Peter,
Minnesota (for respondent)
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender; Holley
C. Horell, Special Assistant Public Defender, Greene Espel
PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge;
Rodenberg, Judge; and Reyes, Judge.
validity of a search of a rented room, pursuant to a warrant
authorizing the search of an entire house, depends on whether
the officers knew or reasonably should have known that it was
a multiple-occupancy house during the search.
direct appeal from a conviction of unlawfully possessing a
firearm suppressor, appellant argues that evidence obtained
as a result of the search must be suppressed because the
search warrant was unconstitutionally overbroad and officers
exceeded the scope of the warrant by searching his separately
rented bedroom. We affirm.
November 16, 2017, Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force
agents applied for and received a warrant to search a house
on South Front Street in St. Peter, Minnesota.Upon executing the
search warrant, two agents approached the house and made
contact with D.H.J., the registered occupant. D.H.J. informed
them that another person was in the house, appellant Richard
Ford Marsh. She also informed the agents that they would
likely find methamphetamine in the residence.
agents went upstairs and found appellant behind a partially
closed door in a bedroom. Agents had to "talk him
out" of the room, as he initially refused to leave.
Appellant exited the room, and the agents conducted a search.
Agents found a digital scale, homemade smoking devices, glass
pipes, a gun case with guns and ammunition, syringes, and
plastic baggies. Agents also found three cylindrical objects
in the room, which further investigation revealed were used
homemade firearm suppressors.
State of Minnesota charged appellant with unlawful possession
of a firearm suppressor, fifth-degree possession of a
controlled substance, possession of hypodermic needles, and
possession of drug paraphernalia.
moved to suppress the evidence gathered as a part of the
search and to dismiss all charges for lack of probable cause.
The district court held a contested omnibus hearing on the
issue of whether the police had the authority to enter
appellant's room as a part of their search of the house.
D.B., a building administrator for the City of St. Peter,
testified for the state, noting that transforming a
traditional single-family house into a rental unit, or
renting out a room, requires a rental license. He testified
that D.H.J. had not registered the house as a rental unit
with the city.
Isaacson, an agent involved in the search, also testified on
behalf of the state. He described the outside of the house as
a traditional, two-story house. When he entered the bottom
floor, it included a kitchen, dining room, living room, and
an open staircase leading to a second floor. Upon going up
the stairs, the agents came upon an open area with a mini
fridge and doors leading to bedrooms. Appellant's bedroom
door was partially open, with a padlock on the outside. After
talking with appellant, ...