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State of Iowa v. Connie Lynn Floyd

February 13, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CONNIE LYNN FLOYD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, John D. Ackerman (motion to suppress), Jeffrey L. Poulson (trial), Judges

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Potterfield, P.J.

Connie Lynn Floyd appeals from her judgment, conviction, and sentence for delivery of a controlled substance, keeping a disorderly house, and possession of drug paraphernalia. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

Connie Lynn Floyd appeals from her judgment, conviction, and sentence for delivery of a controlled substance, keeping a disorderly house, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She contends the warrantless entry and search of her residence constituted an illegal search and seizure in violation of her rights under the Fourth Amendment and article one, section eight of the Iowa Constitution. We affirm, finding probable cause and exigent circumstances existed for the officers' warrantless entry into the residence.

I. Facts and Proceedings

On March 4, 2011, Sioux City police received a general illegal drug complaint regarding the apartment of Connie Floyd. The person who contacted the police was a resident of the apartment building and reported heavy foot traffic going in and out of the apartment. A Sioux City police officer, Officer Kolker, drove to the complex and waited for a second officer, Officer Nice, to arrive as support. The complainant and the apartment complex landlord pulled up and spoke with Officer Kolker as she waited. They informed the officer that they had observed heavy foot traffic and smelled drug odors in the past coming from the specific apartment.

Officer Nice parked in front of the apartment complex and proceeded inside. He walked up the stairs and stood outside of the apartment, where he overheard voices inside. The occupants seemed fixated on the police presence at the apartment complex. The officer also overheard a male in the apartment who sounded "panicky" state he had an "O" on him. Nice knew from his training that an "O" meant an ounce of a drug-usually marijuana. Once Officer Nice was aware Officer Kolker had arrived at the apartment complex, Nice knocked on the apartment door. A female voice responded, "Who is it?" Nice initially did not respond. Nice knocked again, this time identifying himself as the police. Floyd opened the door, and Nice entered.

The apartment was small, cluttered, and crowded. Nice observed a large number of people in the living room area. Kolker also entered the apartment and proceeded into the kitchen area to help secure the premises, asking any people in the other rooms to go into the living room area. Nice observed two drug-related items sitting in plain view in the living room area: a Coke can partially manipulated into a marijuana pipe and a football-shaped Brillo pad typically used as a filter on a crack cocaine pipe.

Nice asked the group to identify the individual who had stated he had an "O" on him. A person responded that the individual who made the statement was no longer there. Nice walked through the apartment, checking places where a person could hide. During this sweep, Nice observed a methamphetamine pipe in the bathroom.

Upon returning to the living room, the officers began to ask for identification from the individuals and pat them down for weapons. By this time, two other officers had arrived to assist. Nice requested permission to search the apartment and reported Floyd initially verbally consented, a fact which Floyd contests. Nice then handed Floyd a written request for consent, but she stared at the form and did not seem to understand, even when others attempted to read it to her. The officers arrested Floyd for keeping a disorderly house, and arrested the eight other occupants for frequenting a disorderly house. The eight occupants were taken to the police department. Floyd remained in the apartment with Officer Nice and a police sergeant while they waited for another officer to obtain a search warrant.

Floyd was read Miranda warnings,*fn1 which she waived, and Nice proceeded to ask her some questions. When asked about the man who said he had an "O" on him, she responded that when the police knocked on the door she told the man to leave the apartment out of the kitchen window. Nice walked over to the window and observed a fire escape. When an officer returned with the search warrant, the apartment was searched. The officers discovered needles in the bathroom, methamphetamine pipes in the dresser, notebooks containing drug notes, pickets,*fn2 and several bags of marijuana.

Floyd was transported to the police station and interviewed further. She was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, keeping a disorderly house, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She filed a motion to suppress statements and physical evidence claiming her federal and state constitutional rights were violated by the police's warrantless entry into her home. This motion was denied. She was tried before the court and found guilty of deliver of a controlled substance-marijuana, keeping a disorderly house, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She appeals from these proceedings.

II. Analysis.

We review constitutional claims regarding the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures de novo. State v. Watts, 801 N.W.2d 845, 850 (Iowa 2011). Floyd argues the entry of police into her apartment violated her rights under both the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article one, section eight of the Iowa Constitution. "The scope and purpose of Iowa's search and seizure clause is coextensive with the federal court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment." State v. Carter, 733 N.W.2d 333, 337 (Iowa 2007). Floyd does not outline how her Iowa constitutional claim should be evaluated differently; therefore, we interpret the claim identically under both the federal and state constitutions for purposes of this appeal. State v. Wilkes, 756 N.W.2d 838, 842 n.1 (Iowa 2008) (noting that while "[w]e zealously guard our ability to interpret the Iowa Constitution differently from authoritative interpretations by the United States Supreme Court," where no argument is made that the Iowa ...


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