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State v. Hansen

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
KEITH HANSEN, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mary E. Howes, Judge. A defendant appeals the denial of his motion to dismiss on speedy indictment grounds.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, Adam Kenworthy, Legal Intern, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Kelly Cunningham and Joseph Grubisich, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.



" I always thought if you weren't under arrest, you were able to leave," Keith Hansen testified at a hearing on his motion to dismiss for a speedy indictment violation. Appealing his conviction for conspiracy to deliver heroin, Hansen argues he reasonably believed he was under arrest, for purposes of Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.33(2)(a) when Davenport police handcuffed him, transported him to the police station, questioned him on and off for more than two hours, and repeatedly told him he was not free to leave.

The district court denied Hansen's motion to dismiss, distinguishing his situation from State v. Wing, 791 N.W.2d 243 (Iowa 2010), because officers told Hansen he was not under arrest and because police did not have grounds to arrest Hansen as the investigation was ongoing. Under our reading of Wing, the officers' statements and the measure of probable cause do not settle the arrest question. Instead, we ask if a reasonable person in Hansen's position would have believed the police restraint on his freedom was so significant that it amounted to an arrest. Wing, 791 N.W.2d at 249. Because the Davenport police restrained Hansen beyond what is permitted for an investigatory detention--even if they lacked probable cause--the encounter was equivalent to an arrest and triggered the speedy indictment clock. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a dismissal.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

On March 7, 2012, Davenport patrol officers responded to an emergency call that Nicole Fowler needed medical attention. The police found her in the company of Keith Hansen at the home of Bo Dipple. Dipple told Officer Joseph Regan that Hansen brought an unresponsive Fowler to his house, saying she had taken the drug Ecstasy. But Hansen recalled telling the medics Fowler had actually overdosed on heroin so that they would administer the appropriate antidote.

When responding to the rather chaotic scene inside Dipple's residence, Corporal Gordon Morse asked Hansen for identification, patted him down, handcuffed him, and moved him outside to the back of the squad car. Hansen asked Morse if he was under arrest, and Morse said " no" --but the police needed some information from him. According to the minutes of evidence, Corporal Morse advised Hansen of his Miranda rights.[1] Morse recalled Hansen asking what he was being arrested for, and Morse responded that Hansen " was not under arrest at this time but that status could change." Hansen remained handcuffed in the squad car in front of Dipple's residence for thirty to forty-five minutes.

During this time, the patrol officers talked to Fowler after she regained consciousness and was being moved to the ambulance. They asked for consent to search her vehicle, but she declined. The officers checked with their sergeant, who determined they had " an independent basis" to search the vehicle. They did not find any evidence in the car.

The police eventually transported Hansen to the station where he was interviewed by Detective Lansing. Hansen did not voluntarily go to the station, testifying he " didn't have a choice in the matter." [2] Once at the station, Hansen waited to be interviewed for about twenty minutes while still in handcuffs. The detective removed the cuffs when the questioning started. Twice during the interview, Hansen asked if he was free to leave, and the detective told him that he was not free to leave but was not under arrest. Hansen recalled being interviewed for about thirty minutes, waiting another thirty to forty-five minutes, and then being questioned for an additional thirty to thirty-five minutes--estimating his total time with the police at two and one-half hours. Hansen ...

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