from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William A.
Price (motion to suppress) and Gregory D. Brandt (bench
trial), District Associate Judges.
defendant appeals her conviction claiming the district court
should have granted her motion to suppress evidence. REVERSED
Alexander D. Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble
Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
Lin Campbell appeals following her conviction for possession
of a controlled substance, second offense, following a bench
trial on the stipulated minutes of testimony. See
Iowa Code § 124.401(5) (2016). She claims the district
court should have granted her motion to suppress evidence
found during the search of her purse. We conclude the
deputies illegally seized Campbell's purse when she was
ordered to place her purse back in the car after she had
exited, and as a result, the evidence found in her purse
should be suppressed. We reverse and remand for a new trial.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
late night hours of January 10, 2016, Campbell was a
passenger in a car being driven by Roger Nourie. Polk County
Deputy Nihad Hodovic stopped Nourie's car for an expired
registration tag. Nourie accompanied Deputy Hodovic back to
the deputy's vehicle, but Campbell remained in the
passenger's seat of Nourie's car. Deputy Hodovic
discovered Nourie's driver's license was
revokedand he did not have valid insurance on the
car. Based on this information, Deputy Hodovic decided to
impound the car and issue citations to Nourie.
Jason Sadler arrived on scene to assist, and Deputy Hodovic
asked him to remove Campbell from the car and place her, with
Nourie, in the back of Deputy Hodovic's vehicle because
Deputy Hodovic had agreed to give them a ride home. Deputy
Sadler asked Campbell to step out of the vehicle, and
Campbell complied, carrying her purse in her hand. Deputy
Sadler then instructed Campbell to place her purse back in
the car; Campbell did as she was directed. Deputy Sadler then
had Campbell open her jacket and turn around before placing
her in the back seat of Deputy Hodovic's vehicle.
deputies then conducted an inventory search of Nourie's
car, discovering a small amount of marijuana in a pill
container, bearing Nourie's name. Nourie admitted the
marijuana was his. The deputies then searched Campbell's
purse, which was still in the car, locating prescription
medication. Campbell admitted she did not have a valid
prescription for the pills and could not recall the name of
the medication. The deputies determined the pills were
alprazolam, and Campbell was arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of the medication.
filed a motion to suppress the evidence discovered in the
search of her purse, claiming it violated her federal and
state constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable
searches and seizures. Specifically, she claimed the deputy
illegally directed her to place her purse back in the car
when she exited, which then made the purse a container in the
car that could be searched after marijuana was found in the
car. The State resisted the motion, claiming that the
location of the purse at the time the marijuana was
discovered did not make a difference as the discovery of the
marijuana gave the deputies probable cause to search all
containers located in the vehicle at the time the vehicle was
stopped. The State claimed the purse could have been searched
after marijuana was discovered in the car because it was
inside the car when the car was seized by the
hearing on the motion to suppress, the court heard the
testimony of Deputy Sadler and observed a portion of the dash
cam video of the stop from Deputy Hodovic's vehicle.
Deputy Sadler testified he instructed Campbell to place her
purse back into the car after she exited the car with her
purse in hand. Deputy also Sadler testified, "I never
let anybody take a purse with them or any items due to
it's part of the inventory search. It needs to be
inventoried to make sure nothing of value as well as any
weapons, officer's safety. We don't know what she has
in the purse with her." Deputy Sadler went on to
[D]ue to close contact, the nature in dealing with the person
or even having the patrol car, we don't know what's
on the person or in the purse. So therefore, we want to
verify there [are] no weapons, nothing to prevent or
jeopardize our safety, or to their safety, whether it may be
something they may have.
district court denied Campbell's motion on the record,
The court finds that on or about January 10, 2016, a vehicle
being operated by Mr. Roger Nourie was stopped in the 3900
block of East 29th Street by [Deputy] Hodovic, that [Deputy]
Hodovic determined that Mr. Nourie was a revoked driver, that
the registration to the vehicle was expired, and Mr. Nourie
did not produce current proof of insurance. A decision was
made to impound the vehicle.
Mr. Nourie was already out of the vehicle. And [Deputy]
Sadler, who had come to the place of the stop, was asked to
have Ms. Campbell come out of the vehicle that had been
operated by Mr. ...