from the District Court of McLean County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable James S. Hill, Judge.
R. Erickson, State's Attorney, for plaintiff and
appellee; submitted on brief.
Russell J. Myhre, for defendant and appellant; submitted on
1] Dean Karna appeals the judgment entered on conditional
pleas of guilty to the charges of possession of a controlled
substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The issue is
whether the district court erred in denying Karna's
motion to suppress evidence obtained by law enforcement while
searching his home without a warrant. We affirm.
2] In 2015, a McLean County Sheriff's dispatcher received
a phone call from Karna's brother stating Karna told him
he had shot their father. Sheriff's deputies were
familiar with the Karna family. They knew Dean Karna and his
father lived in the same trailer home. Upon arriving at their
residence, the deputies saw Karna outside smoking a
cigarette, blocking the entry of the home. The deputies
inquired whether Karna had shot his father. After Karna said
no, a deputy brushed past him and entered the home. He saw a
rifle on the couch, and he detained Karna. He then reentered
the home and shouted to anyone inside to come to the front
door. Nobody responded to his calls, so the deputy searched
for the father.
3] After finding the father asleep in his bedroom, the deputy
woke him and checked for injuries. He concluded the father
had not been shot. While speaking with the father to
ascertain what had occurred, the deputy asked whether any
additional guns were in the house. The father said there was
a gun in Karna's bedroom and gave the deputy permission
to search his son's room. In the bathroom attached to the
bedroom, the deputy saw drugs and drug paraphernalia in the
sink. The deputies arrested Karna, and he was charged with
two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two
counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.
4] Karna moved to suppress the marijuana and drug
paraphernalia evidence, arguing the deputies entered his home
without a warrant and no exception applied. After an
evidentiary hearing, the district court denied his motion,
finding the facts established the emergency exception to the
warrant requirement allowed the deputies to enter the home.
5] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art.
VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. § 27-05-06. Karna's
appeal from the criminal judgment was timely under
N.D.R.App.P. 4(b). This Court has jurisdiction under N.D.
Const. art. VI, §§ 2 and 6, and N.D.C.C. §
6] Karna argues the emergency exception to the warrant
requirement does not apply to the present facts and the
search was unreasonable. We have explained our standard in
reviewing a district court's findings:
A trial court's findings of fact in preliminary
proceedings of a criminal case will not be reversed if, after
the conflicts in the testimony are resolved in favor of
affirmance, there is sufficient competent evidence fairly
capable of supporting the trial court's findings, and the