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State v. Moore

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DERRICK ALAN MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, James D. Coil, Judge, (motion to suppress) and Nathan A. Callahan, District Associate Judge (trial and sentencing).

         Derrick Moore appeals his conviction for carrying weapons, alleging he was subjected to an unconstitutional stop and frisk.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Richard J. Bennett, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, Judge.

         Derrick Moore appeals his conviction for carrying weapons, a serious misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(3) (2015). Moore challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress, alleging he was subjected to a stop and frisk in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article 1, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts

         On August 31, 2015, a 911 call was placed by a citizen informant around 8:20 a.m. The citizen identified herself and said "there [wa]s an older guy walking down the street" and it "look[ed] like he had a sharp knife hanging out the back of his pocket."[1] Two officers responded and found Moore, who matched the informant's description. At that time, the officers were unable to see a knife on Moore's person. Moore was walking within a few blocks[2] of a school as children were on their way to school, which both officers testified caused them concern. One officer testified they asked Moore if they could search his person and Moore refused consent. When one officer informed Moore of the tip they had received and that he was going to search Moore's person, Moore told the officers he had a knife in his back pocket. The officer searched Moore and found the knife Moore had identified; the knife had a blade over six inches long. The officers testified the pat down was based upon the nature of the call, concern for the children in the area, and concern for officer safety.

         II. Standard and Scope of Review

         Because Moore claims the district court violated his constitutional rights in denying his motion to suppress, our review is de novo. See State v. Coleman, 890 N.W.2d 284, 286 (Iowa 2017). "We independently evaluate the totality of the circumstances found in the record, including the evidence introduced at both the suppression hearing and at trial." State v. Gaskins, 866 N.W.2d 1, 5 (Iowa 2015) (quoting State v. Vance, 790 N.W.2d 775, 780 (Iowa 2010)).

         III. Analysis

         The U.S. Constitution and the Iowa Constitution both grant protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. See U.S. Const. amend. IV; Iowa Const. art. I, sec. 8. "We follow an independent approach in the application of our state constitution." State v. McIver, 858 N.W.2d 699, 702 (Iowa 2015). "However, when a party does not argue an independent approach, 'we ordinarily apply the substantive federal standards but reserve the right to apply the standard in a fashion different from federal precedent.'" Id. (quoting State v. Tyler, 830 N.W.2d 288, 291-92 (Iowa 2013)).

         "Searches conducted without a warrant are per se unreasonable, 'subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.'" State v. Watts, 801 N.W.2d 845, 850 (Iowa 2011) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967)). One such exception exists when an "officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity may be afoot." State v. Kooima, 833 N.W.2d 202, 206 (Iowa 2013) ...


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