from the District Court of Williams County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Kirsten M. Sjue, Judge.
C. Ringsak (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for defendant and
K. Madden (on brief), Williams County Assistant State's
Attorney, Williston, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.
1] Anquine White appeals a district court criminal judgment
after a jury found him guilty of drug, paraphernalia and
firearm possession. White argues officers conducted a
warrantless, suspicionless probationary search and violated
his constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and
seizures. Reasonable suspicion of White's roommate
violating probation supported the initial search of the home,
and discovery of evidence in plain view permissibly expanded
the search. We affirm the criminal judgment.
2] White was on supervised probation for felony drug charges.
He lived in Williston with another individual on supervised
probation. Both men reported to the probation department that
the home's address was their current residence and both
men were subject to residential probationary searches as a
condition of probation. White's roommate was on
supervised probation approximately two months before the
search of the residence. The roommate failed to report to
probation officers as directed, even after an encounter with
probation officers instructing him to contact the probation
office by the end of the following week. Ten days after the
roommate's deadline to report, probation officers visited
the home to contact the roommate or White. White had not
reported to probation officers for six weeks at the time of
3] Upon arrival at the home, a third-party told the officers
neither the roommate nor White were available. Based on the
probation violation of White's roommate in failing to
report, the officers searched the premises for the roommate
or White. The search did not yield White or the roommate, but
officers discovered a scale in plain view in one of the
bedrooms. Officers expanded the search after the discovery
and recovered several items of contraband, including
paraphernalia, drugs and a firearm. Officers found personal
effects linking White to the bedroom, and the State charged
him with possession of drugs, paraphernalia and a firearm.
4] White moved to suppress the evidence gathered during the
search, arguing that failure to report to probation officers
is not sufficient to support a probationary search. The
district court found a totality of the circumstances provided
reasonable suspicion for the search based on the
roommate's failure to report to probation officers. The
district court found the officers permissibly expanded the
search after discovering a scale with suspected drug residue
in plain view in one of the bedrooms. The district court
denied the motion to suppress evidence and a jury found White
5] White argues the district court erred in denying his
motion to suppress because actions by the officers amounted
to a suspicionless search in violation of his Fourth
Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
He claims the search violated Fourth Amendment rights because
the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the
search of the home.
6] When reviewing a district court's decision regarding a
motion to suppress, we defer to the district court's
findings of fact to resolve conflicts in testimony in favor
of affirmance. State v. Kitchen, 1997 ND 241, ¶
11, 572 N.W.2d 106. We affirm a district court decision on a
motion to suppress 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. Nickel, 2013
ND 155, ¶ 12, 836 N.W.2d 405 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). Questions of law are fully
reviewable, and whether a finding of fact meets a legal
standard is a question of law. State v. Schmidt,
2015 ND 134, ¶ 5, 864 N.W.2d 265.
7] The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
art. I, § 8, of the North Dakota Constitution protect
individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. When
reviewing the constitutionality of probationary searches, we
interpret the North Dakota Constitution to provide the same
protections for probationers as provided by the United States
Constitution. State v. Ballard, 2016 ND 8, ¶ 8,
874 N.W.2d 61. We consider the totality of the circumstances
to balance the degree to which the search intrudes upon an
individual's privacy against the degree to which the
search is needed to promote legitimate government interests.
Ballard, at ¶¶ 8, 34.
8] In United States v. Knights the Supreme Court
considered the totality of circumstances, balanced government
and private interests and held a probationary search was
reasonable when it was supported by reasonable suspicion and
authorized by a condition of probation. United States v.
Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 122 ...