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State v. Allen

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 21, 2016

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHRISTOPHER RYAN ALLEN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel A. Dalrymple, Judge.

         Christopher Allen appeals his convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, ongoing criminal conduct, and a drug tax stamp violation. AFFIRMED.

          Christopher A. Clausen of Clausen Law Office, Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin R. Cmelik and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.

          Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, Judge.

         Christopher Allen appeals his convictions in two cases, FECR192889 and FECR196716, following a trial on the minutes of testimony for two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, ongoing criminal conduct, and a drug tax stamp violation, in violation of Iowa Code sections 124.401(1)(a), 124.401(1)(c), 706A.5, 706A.2, and 453B.12 (2013). Allen claims the district court erred in denying his motions to suppress and his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         In August 2013, police executed a search warrant at Allen's home in Waterloo, Iowa. During the search, officers found several rocks of crack cocaine, cash, a digital scale, and plastic sandwich bags with the corners removed. Officers then obtained a search warrant to search the apartment of a woman identified as Allen's girlfriend. In the apartment they found receipts and tickets documenting trips between the Waterloo area and Chicago, Illinois and a large amount of cash. In an interview with police officers, Allen said he received the cash from a settlement; he also admitted to selling crack cocaine in Chicago but denied selling it in Iowa. Based on these and other facts, the State charged Allen on August 15, 2013, with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and/or conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, in violation of section 124.401(1)(c), and a drug tax stamp violation, pursuant to section 453B.12.

         In early February 2014, a confidential informant told police Allen was transporting crack cocaine from Chicago to Waterloo by bus while concealing the crack cocaine in his pants. Because Allen owed the confidential informant money for drugs, the police arranged a controlled transaction between the confidential informant and Allen, during which Allen paid fifty dollars to the confidential informant, although no narcotics were exchanged. The confidential informant also told the officers Allen was going to Chicago to acquire additional narcotics. As a result of this information, the officers obtained a warrant to track the location of Allen's cell phone, which notified the officers when Allen travelled back from Chicago to Waterloo by bus on February 21, 2014. Officers observed Allen disembark the bus without luggage and enter a vehicle as a passenger.

         Another officer, who had a certified narcotics detection police dog, was called to conduct a stop of the vehicle. The officer had been informed of and observed what he believed to be a burned out taillight on the rear of the vehicle. The officer had also been informed there was an issue with probable controlled substances.

         After initiating the stop, the officer made contact with the vehicle's occupants. Allen, a passenger in the vehicle, appeared nervous and inquired whether he was in trouble. The officer obtained the vehicle's occupants' identifying information, returned to his vehicle, ran their information through his computer, and discovered the driver was the registered owner of the vehicle and Allen had previous narcotics charges.

         The officer asked the owner of the vehicle to exit it. The officer and the vehicle owner looked at the taillight, and the vehicle owner explained the lamp was painted over in red, not burned out. The officer discussed with the vehicle owner how this made the light virtually impossible to see during the day.

          The officer asked the vehicle owner if he could search both the car and the individual's person. The owner agreed. Nothing was found on the individual's person. The officer asked Allen to exit the vehicle and asked for consent to search his person, which Allen gave, although he refused to spread his legs for the pat down; based on this refusal and Allen's size, the officer ...


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