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State v. Halverson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROY A. HALVERSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his convictions for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and possession of clonazepam with intent to deliver. AFFIRMED.

          Matthew G. Sease of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          McDONALD, Judge.

         Roy Halverson appeals his convictions for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c) (2015), and possession of clonazepam with intent to deliver, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d). On appeal, he argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence purportedly obtained in violation of his constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. He also argues there is insufficient evidence to support his methamphetamine conviction.

         I.

         One night, the Cedar Falls Police Department received a report a man, later identified as Halverson, tried to pull a teenaged girl into a secluded area of an apartment complex. It was also reported the man tried to sell drugs in the apartment complex.

         The police responded to the report and, upon arriving at the complex, located a group of people outside the complex, including the teenaged girl. The girl stated Halverson approached her after she stepped out of her apartment to make a phone call. He grabbed the teen's wrist and pulled her toward a more secluded area of the apartment complex but let go of her after a few steps. At some point in this encounter, Halverson told the girl he was "packing heat" and they should go into the main portion of the apartment complex. The teen was scared. Once inside the main portion of the apartment complex, the girl witnessed Halverson offer to sell drugs to her brother and his friends, who happened to be in the main portion of the complex. Halverson unscrewed the back of a flashlight and pulled out several clear baggies, some containing pills and others containing a white substance. Halverson told the girl's brother "one was better than the other."

         After listening to the teen's recollection of events, the responding officer asked the group for a description of Halverson. Around the same time, Halverson exited the apartment complex, and the group pointed him out to the officer. The officer approached Halverson and patted him down. The officer found no weapons, but she did find three cell phones, several condoms, a keychain with a pill vial attached, and a mini flashlight. The officer opened the pill vial and discovered several pills. She placed these items on the front of her cruiser and arrested Halverson. Once at the police station, the flashlight was opened and the drugs inside were identified as methamphetamine and clonazepam. The methamphetamine was packaged into multiple baggies.

         Halverson was charged with three counts: count I, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver; count II, attempting to entice a minor; and count III, possession of clonazepam with intent to deliver. Halverson moved to suppress the drugs found in the pill vial and in the flashlight, arguing the search of his person and seizure of these items violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. The district court denied Halverson's motion. Following a trial on the minutes of testimony, the district court convicted Halverson on counts I and III.

         II.

         We first address Halverson's search-and-seizure claim. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution protect the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The touchstone of any search-and-seizure claim is reasonableness under the circumstances presented. See Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 108-09 (1977) ("The touchstone of our analysis under the Fourth Amendment is always 'the reasonableness in all circumstances of the particular governmental invasion of a citizen's personal security.'" (citation omitted)); State ...


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