from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joseph M.
Moothart (motion to suppress) and Nathan A. Callahan (trial),
District Associate Judges.
appeals the trial court ruling denying his motion to suppress
J. Viner of Viner Law Firm, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Blane, S.J.
Scheffert appeals from the district court's denial of his
motion to suppress and his conviction for possession of a
controlled substance (marijuana) following a bench trial on
the minutes of testimony. Scheffert maintains the police
officer initiated a stop of his vehicle without probable
cause or reasonable suspicion, in violation of his state and
federal constitutional rights.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
30, 2015, at approximately 12:37 a.m.,  Scheffert was
driving a motor vehicle in the Falls Access area in Black
Hawk County. Officer Tim Peterson initiated a stop of the
vehicle because he believed it was located in a county park
area that closed at 10:30 p.m., pursuant to a county
ordinance. After making contact with Scheffert and his
passenger, the officer received Scheffert's consent to
search the vehicle. During the search, the officer found a
marijuana pipe with residue and a pill bottle with a clear
plastic bag and a small of amount of what appeared to be
marijuana. When asked, Scheffert admitted it was his
same day, Scheffert was charged by trial information with
possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), in
violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(5) (2015).
filed a motion to suppress, arguing "[t]he stop and
search of Defendant was conducted in violation of the Fourth
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and
Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa constitution."
hearing on the motion was held on October 23. Deputy Matthew
Harristestified the stop of Scheffert's
vehicle occurred on a "level B road" that was
maintained by the "Conservation Board" in an area
known as the "Falls Access." He further testified
the area was a county conservation property and the general
public was not allowed to be in the area from 10:30 p.m. to
6:00 a.m. daily. Deputy Harris remembered there had been a
sign at one time on the road that labeled it "county
access, " but he did not remember if there was such a
sign on the date of the stop, and there was no such sign at
the time of the hearing. Additionally, the sign he remembered
did not list the hours the road or park were open to the
public. The State did not seek to admit into evidence the
county ordinance designating the area a park or setting
closing arguments, the State maintained the stop of
Scheffert's vehicle was lawful because Officer Peterson
had probable cause to believe Scheffert was in a county park
district court filed a written ruling, denying
Scheffert's motion to suppress. The court concluded
"that the stop of the defendant's vehicle was based
on the specific and articulable cause to reasonably believe
that the defendant was ...