from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Sonna M. Anderson, Judge.
M. Vaagen, Assistant State's Attorney, Burleigh County
State's Attorney, for plaintiff and appellee.
L. Herbel, The Regency Business Center, for defendant and
1] In consolidated appeals, Deven Schmidt appeals from
district court orders deferring imposition of sentence after
he conditionally pled guilty to possession of drug
paraphernalia and conspiracy to deliver a controlled
substance. Schmidt argues the district court erred in denying
his motions to suppress evidence he claims was obtained in
violation of his rights against unreasonable searches and
seizures. We affirm, concluding the district court properly
denied Schmidt's motion to suppress evidence.
2] In March 2014, a law officer served a misdemeanor bench
warrant on Devin Lavallie, Deven Schmidt's roommate.
Schmidt answered the door and informed the officer that
Lavallie was sleeping inside the residence. The officer
followed Schmidt inside the residence to Lavallie's
bedroom, while another officer remained at the door. Schmidt
went into his bedroom and closed the door while the officer
executed the bench warrant on Lavallie. During Lavallie's
arrest, the officer observed drug paraphernalia in plain view
in Lavallie's bedroom. The officer placed Lavallie under
arrest, moved him into the living room, and handcuffed him.
The officer testified he returned to Schmidt's bedroom,
entered the room, handcuffed Schmidt, and took him to the
living room for the safety of those present. The officer
informed Schmidt he was being detained until officers could
figure out what was going on. The officer then observed drug
paraphernalia in the living room and contacted the Task Force
3] The officer requested and obtained written and verbal
consent from Schmidt and Lavallie to search the residence.
After obtaining written consent to search the residence, the
officer found paraphernalia in Schmidt's bedroom.
4] The State charged Schmidt with possession of drug
paraphernalia. Schmidt moved to suppress evidence in
connection with the charge, alleging the officer did not have
authority or consent to enter the residence to execute the
bench warrant. The district court suppressed evidence
obtained from the search, and the State appealed.
5] During the pendency of the appeal, the State charged
Schmidt with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.
This Court reversed the district court's suppression
order in State v. Schmidt, 2015 ND 134, ¶ 11,
864 N.W.2d 265 ("Schmidt I"), concluding the
officer, having a reasonable belief that Lavallie was inside,
had legal authority under the misdemeanor bench warrant to
enter the residence to execute the warrant, and we remanded
for additional proceedings.
6] On remand, Schmidt moved to suppress evidence in
connection with both charges. Schmidt argued the officer
violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable
searches and seizures by opening his bedroom door, removing
him, and moving him to the livingroom. Schmidt also argued
his consent to search the residence was coerced. The district
court denied Schmidt's motion to suppress. Schmidt
entered conditional guilty pleas to both charges, reserving
his right to appeal the district court's denial of his
motions to suppress the evidence seized. The district court
entered an order deferring imposition of sentence on each
charge. Schmidt appealed from both orders deferring
imposition of sentence.
7] In Schmidt I, we outlined our standard for
reviewing a district court's determination on a motion to
When reviewing a district court's ruling on a motion to
suppress evidence, this Court defers to a trial court's
findings of fact, and conflicts in testimony are resolved in
favor of affirmance because we recognize the trial court is
in a superior position to assess the credibility of witnesses
and weigh evidence. State v. Gasal, 2015 ND 43,
¶ 6, 859 N.W.2d 914. "A district court's
findings of fact on a motion to suppress will not be reversed
if there is sufficient competent evidence fairly capable of
supporting the court's findings, and the decision is not
contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence."
State v. DeCoteau, 1999 ND 77, ¶ 6, 592 N.W.2d
579. "Questions of law are fully reviewable on appeal,
and whether a finding of fact meets a legal standard is a
question of law." State v. Graf, 2006 ND 196,
¶ 7, 721 N.W.2d 381.
2015 ND 134, ¶ 5, 864 N.W.2d 265.
8] "The Fourth Amendment of the United States
Constitution and Article I, Section 8 of the North Dakota
Constitution protect individuals from unreasonable searches
and seizures." State v. Gagnon, 2012 ND 198,
¶ 8, 821 N.W.2d 373. A person alleging a Fourth
Amendment violation has an initial burden of establishing a
prima facie case of an illegal search or seizure. State
v. Lanctot, 1998 ND 216, ¶ 8, 587 N.W.2d 568;
City of Fargo v. Sivertson, 1997 ND 204, ¶ 6,
571 N.W.2d 137. "However, after the defendant has made a
prima facie case, the burden of persuasion is shifted to the
State to justify its actions." Sivertson, at
¶ 6. "The movant initially has the burden to make
specific allegations of illegality and to produce evidence to
persuade the court the evidence should be suppressed."
State v. Pogue, 215 ND 211, ¶ 10, 868 N.W.2d
522 (citing State v. Glaesman, 545 N.W.2d 178, 182
n.1 (N.D. 1996). Whether law enforcement violated
constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable search and
seizure is a question of law. State v. Uran, 2008 ND
223, ¶ 5, 758 N.W.2d 727.
9] On appeal, Schmidt argues his constitutional right against
unreasonable searches and seizures was violated; therefore,
the district court erred by not suppressing all evidence
acquired after the officer detained Schmidt. Specifically,
Schmidt argues the officer illegally seized him by ordering
him out of the room, handcuffing him, and transporting him to
the living room.
10] "To stop a person for investigative purposes, an
officer must have an articulable and reasonable suspicion
that a law has been or is being violated." State v.
Parizek, 2004 ND 78, ¶ 9, 678 N.W.2d 154. "In
determining whether an investigative stop is valid, we use an
objective standard and look to the totality of the
circumstances." Id. "The question is
whether a reasonable person in the officer's position
would be justified by some objective ...