from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David N. May,
defendant appeals four convictions for drug-related crimes,
challenging the legality of an automobile search.
J. Dunn of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown
& Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
Moines police stopped Michael Kilpatrick as he drove a car
registered to his brother, who had an outstanding arrest
warrant. During the investigatory stop, an officer frisked
Kilpatrick and removed heroin from his pocket. Another
officer found a backseat passenger in possession of drug
paraphernalia. A subsequent search of the car's glove box
unearthed methamphetamine and cocaine-leading to
Kilpatrick's convictions on four drug-related felonies.
Kilpatrick appeals, challenging the extension of the stop
after its initial purpose was resolved, questioning the
State's reliance on the "plain-feel" exception
to the warrant requirement, and arguing the glove-box search
was not justified under the search-incident-to-arrest or
police had not determined the identity of the car's
occupants before the pat downs, the officers did not unduly
prolong the stop. The police legally seized contraband from
Kilpatrick based on the plain-feel doctrine. The driver's
possession of heroin and the passenger's possession of
drug paraphernalia provided probable cause to search the car.
Accordingly, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
night in June 2016, Michael Kilpatrick borrowed the Pontiac
Bonneville registered to his brother, James Kilpatrick, who
was wanted for violating his parole. On routine patrol, a
pair of Des Moines police officers ran the Pontiac's
plates, discovered an active warrant for the registered
owner's arrest, and signaled for the driver to pull over.
As the Pontiac came to a stop, Officer Steven Bjurstrom saw
the driver reach toward the center console and passenger side
of the car. The movements concerned the
officer-"[p]eople typically will hide weapons or
retrieve weapons to attack or plan to attack or try to hide
things, illegal substances, or things they don't want to
officers approached the Pontiac; Officer Bjurstrom spoke with
the driver while Officer Ryan Neumann stood at the rear
window on the passenger side. Officer Bjurstrom asked
Kilpatrick to "hop out" of the car and then checked
his driver's license, which identified him as Michael,
not James. Kilpatrick also told the officer that the backseat
passenger, Tyler Jennings, was not the car's registered
owner. Officer Bjurstrom moved Kilpatrick to the rear of the
Pontiac where the officer patted him down. The officer found
no weapons, but detected a "crackle" that he
believed to be consistent with drug packaging, and pulled a
small knotted baggie holding heroin from Kilpatrick's
Officer Neumann identified Nicole Kilpatrick as the female
passenger in front seat. As Officer Bjurstrom patted down the
driver, Officer Neumann noticed Jennings was sitting on a
syringe. The officer said he "initially observed [the
syringe] between [Jennings's] legs" and recovered it
from the seat after the passenger was removed from the car.
Officer Neumann found another syringe and a metal spoon with
white residue in Jennings's pants pockets.
three occupants sat on the curb while police searched the
Pontiac. Officer Bjurstrom unlocked the glove box with the
ignition key and found two types of illicit drugs inside a
black zippered pouch. According to a report from the Iowa
Division of Criminal Investigation, the pouch held 44.5 grams
of methamphetamine and 5.1 grams of cocaine salt. Michael
Kilpatrick can be heard on the police dash-cam video
admitting the drugs belonged to him.
four-count trial information, the State charged Kilpatrick
with (1) possession of methamphetamine, in excess of five
grams, with intent to deliver, a class "B" felony,
in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(b)(7) (2016) as
a second or subsequent offense; (2) failure to affix a tax
stamp to those drugs, a class "D" felony, in
violation of sections 453B.3 and 453B.12; (3) possession of
cocaine with intent to deliver, a class "C" felony,
in violation of section 124.401(1)(c)(2)(b) and (d), as a
second or ...