from the District Court of Ward County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Todd L. Cresap, Judge.
K. Schell, Assistant State's Attorney, Minot, N.D., for
plaintiff and appellee.
R. Craig, Minot, N.D., for defendant and appellant.
1] Floyd Hyde appeals a criminal judgment after entering a
conditional plea of guilty to three drug charges. In his
plea, Hyde reserved his right to appeal the district
court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Hyde
argues the district court erred in finding the warrantless
entry of his home fell within the emergency exception to the
warrant requirement. We reverse and remand to allow him to
withdraw his plea.
2] Two Ward County deputies entered Hyde's residence in
response to a report that he may be suicidal. At the time of
their warrantless entry into Hyde's residence, the
information available to the deputies included the following
facts, about which there are no material conflicts in
testimony. At 8:41 a.m. on May 13, 2015, Hyde's brother
called the Ward County Sheriff's Department. He called
the non-emergency dispatch line rather than 911. A dispatch
log summarized the call as reporting that Hyde had "been
calling his mother crying with suicidal ideations." The
dispatch log also noted that Hyde's calls to his mother
occurred "last night about a quarter to 01:00 hrs."
The dispatcher recorded the request for a welfare check as
"Status: Routine, Priority: Low." Deputy Olson
testified as follows about the information she received from
A What I remember is dispatch advising us that there was a
welfare check, asked for welfare check. Brother called in for
a welfare check and he had called his mother numerous times
that night and had made suicidal comments.
Q Okay. In relationship to, I guess, the circumstances,
though, there was no sort of direct quote from Mr. Hyde
saying he per se was going to kill himself or anything like
that that was relayed from dispatch to you, correct? It was
just general sort of suicidal comments?
Q And there was no, nothing was relayed to you from dispatch
that any sort of suicide was imminent such as Mr. Hyde
standing on a ledge, sitting there with a gun to his head, or
anything of that nature?
A No, sir.
3] Deputy Olson testified that when she and another deputy
arrived at Hyde's residence, she initially spoke to the
landlord. The landlord told her that he had seen Hyde the
night before. The landlord gave the deputies no indication
that Hyde had shown any signs of distress. He went on to say
that if a gold SUV was in the driveway, Hyde was probably
home. The SUV was parked in the driveway. The landlord also
said he believed Hyde was asleep. Starting at 10:20 a.m., the
deputies began knocking on the door. After approximately nine
minutes of knocking repeatedly without an answer, the
deputies entered Hyde's residence through the unlocked
4] Upon entering the residence, the deputies checked the
living room and two bedrooms for Hyde. In the first bedroom,
the deputies did not see Hyde, but they did see a marijuana
plant on the floor. The deputies located Hyde asleep in the
second bedroom. One deputy shook Hyde to wake him. To the
deputy, Hyde seemed very groggy. Hyde told the deputies that
he had taken a sleeping pill the night before. The deputy
inquired into Hyde's mental health. Hyde acknowledged
that he was having a rough time, but he was not suicidal and
would be okay. The deputy advised Hyde that she needed to
confiscate the marijuana plant she saw in the first bedroom.
Hyde agreed and told her she could have all of the plants.
Hyde then showed the deputy where he had additional marijuana
plants. Based on the information obtained during the initial
warrantless entry, a search warrant was obtained. The
deputies' search of Hyde's home yielded bagged
marijuana, thirty-five marijuana plants, and marijuana
5] Hyde was charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession
of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled
substance. Hyde brought a motion to suppress the evidence
found after the deputies entered his residence without a
warrant. The district court denied the motion. Hyde entered a
conditional plea of guilty on the charges. On appeal, Hyde
argues the district court erred in denying his motion to
suppress, because the deputies did ...