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State v. Canfield

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 19, 2013

STATE of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Andrew CANFIELD, Defendant and Appellant.

Page 621

Nathan K. Madden, Assistant State's Attorney, Williams County State's Attorney Office, Williston, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

Jeff L. Nehring, Williston, ND, for defendant and appellant.

KAPSNER, Justice.

[¶ 1] Andrew Canfield appeals from district court judgments entered upon conviction of four drug related offenses and from a district court order denying his motion to suppress evidence found during a search of his dormitory room. A lack of evidence in the record makes meaningful appellate review of the issues presented impossible in this case; we reverse the judgments of conviction and remand for further proceedings.

I

[¶ 2] The district court stated that the following facts did not appear to be in dispute:

On October 2, 2012, Officer Dickerson of the Williston Police Department responded to a call of possible drug use in a dorm room at Williston State college.

Page 622

He met with Heather Fink, the housing director at WSC, who indicated reports of the smell of marijuana in Room 3A in which Defendant lived. Ms. Fink indicated that all students sign a housing agreement allowing WSC staff to enter rooms for any reason. She proceeded to knock on the door which was answered by a female occupant. Ms. Fink asked for permission to enter and was granted access while Officer Dickerson stayed in the entryway.
While in the entryway, Officer Dickerson observed two glass pipes he believed were used for ingesting drugs. He then entered the residence and questioned the individuals present in the room. Defendant, who was in class at the time, was escorted back to the room where he was handcuffed, Mirandized, and questioned. After questioning, Defendant was ultimately arrested for various drug offenses.

[¶ 3] Canfield moved to suppress " any and all evidence recovered as a result of an illegal search of his residence and an illegal interrogation." His motion to suppress indicated that it was " supported by attached brief and supporting materials." His brief in support of motion to suppress evidence indicated that " [a] hearing on this matter [was] expected to show" that the facts alleged by Canfield had occurred. Attached to his brief were two exhibits: the Williston State College Housing Contract and Application and the Williston State College Student Code of Conduct. No other evidence was submitted by Canfield, and his notice of motion to suppress evidence indicated that the motion was " being submitted by the Defendant without a request for oral argument." As a result, no evidentiary hearing was held on the motion to suppress. The parties did not make a formal stipulation of facts for the court to consider. The district court ultimately denied Canfield's motion, finding that the plain view doctrine applied, exigent circumstances existed authorizing entry into the room, and the subsequent questioning was not in violation of Canfield's Miranda rights.

[¶ 4] After a jury trial, Canfield was found guilty of ingesting a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. He was found not guilty of an additional charge of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (baggies).

II

[¶ 5] On appeal, Canfield argues the district court erred in finding the search of Canfield's dormitory room was not unreasonable. He argues that consent, third-party consent, consent through his dormitory contract, and plain view and exigent circumstances did not justify the warrantless search, thus requiring suppression of all evidence seized under the exclusionary rule and fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. The State argues that consent, consent through the dormitory contract, and plain view and exigent circumstances justified the warrantless search. Because the district court's ...


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