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State v. Knox

Supreme Court of North Dakota

January 14, 2016

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Dustin Hayes Knox, Defendant and Appellant

Editorial Note:

The opinion cannot be considered final until disposition of such petition for rehearing by the court or expiration of 14 days from filing date.

Appeal from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Robin Ann Schmidt, Judge.

Charles B. Neff, Assistant State's Attorney, Watford City, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

Samuel A. Gereszek, East Grand Forks, Minn., for defendant and appellant.

Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 665

Daniel J. Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Dustin Knox appeals from a judgment entered after he conditionally pled guilty to drug charges, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Knox argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle. We reverse and remand to the district court for findings explaining the basis for denying Knox's motion to suppress.

I

[¶2] Knox was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while his license was suspended.

[¶3] A preliminary hearing was held and McKenzie County Sheriff's Deputy Per Perez testified he was dispatched to Zoe Road for reported drug activity at the M& M Trailer Park. Perez testified he received information from State Radio that the reporting party stated a blue Toyota pickup truck and a gray Jeep Cherokee were driving around the trailer park selling drugs. The reporting party stated the vehicle's occupants attempted to sell him drugs. Perez testified he arrived in the area of the trailer park about four or five minutes after being dispatched, observed a gray Jeep Cherokee on Zoe Road and stopped the vehicle which Knox was driving. Perez arrested Knox after determining his driving privileges were suspended. Perez searched the vehicle and found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The district court found there was probable cause to believe Knox committed an offense.

[¶4] Knox moved to suppress evidence, arguing the stop of his vehicle was illegal because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion, the stop was based on an anonymous tip and the tip was neither corroborated nor reliable. The district court denied his motion. Knox conditionally pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, reserving the right to appeal ...


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