from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Paul G.
Crawford, District Associate Judge.
defendant appeals convictions for possession of marijuana;
failure to affix a drug tax stamp; possession of cocaine,
third or subsequent offense; and possession of hydrocodone,
third or subsequent offense.
J. Boettger of Hastings, Gartin & Boettger, L.L.P., Ames,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and
Montee Williams appeals from his convictions for possession
of marijuana; failure to affix a drug tax stamp; possession
of cocaine; third or subsequent offense; and possession of
hydrocodone, third or subsequent offense. Williams maintains
the district court should have granted his motion to suppress
evidence because the search-warrant application did not
provide sufficient basis to support probable cause and the
required nexus between the items sought pursuant to the
warrant and the people or places searched.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
November 9, 2015, Ames Police officers responded to a call
from Sandra Fairbanks reporting a broken window at her
residence. While discussing the incident with Fairbanks at
the front door to her residence, Officer Vincent Junior
reported he could smell marijuana and see a hazy smoke inside
the residence. After entering the residence with
Fairbanks' consent, Officer Junior conducted a protective
sweep, handcuffed the occupants of the residence-including
Williams, Fairbanks, and a third adult-and applied for a
search warrant. A warrant was issued to search the Fairbanks
residence and the three individuals, including Williams,
found there by the officers. In executing the search pursuant
to the warrant, officers found $1240 in cash and a key to the
apartment in Williams's pockets. In a bedroom, officers
found marijuana, white powder later identified as cocaine,
and a prescription bottle with two hydrocodone pills. Mail
with Williams's name and male clothing were also found in
Standard of Review.
this case involves the constitutional right to be free from
unreasonable searches and seizures, our review of the
district court's suppression ruling is de novo. See
State v. Davis, 679 N.W.2d 651, 656 (Iowa 2004). To
determine whether probable cause has been established for the
issuance of a search warrant, we review the totality of the
circumstances. Id. We do not make an independent
determination of probable cause but determine whether the
issuing judge had a substantial basis for concluding probable
cause existed. Id. We examine only the information
actually presented to the court at the time of the
application for the warrant. Id.
Iowa Supreme Court has held a trained officer's detection
of a sufficiently distinctive odor, by itself or when
accompanied by other facts, may establish probable cause.
State v. Watts, 801 N.W.2d 845, 854 (Iowa 2011).
Williams argues the warrant application did not demonstrate
Officer Junior was qualified to recognize the odor of
marijuana. Officer Junior's warrant application asserts
there were illegal narcotics in the residence because he
could "smell the odor of raw or burnt marijuana"
from outside the residence. Williams claims ...