Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 1, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DESTINY BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Brook Jacobsen, District Associate Judge.

         Destiny Brown appeals the district court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and Mary K. Conroy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

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

          Heard by Mullins, P.J., Vogel, C.J., and Vaitheswaran, Doyle, and Tabor, JJ.


         Destiny Brown appeals her convictions of two counts of second-offense possession of a controlled substance, contending the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop. She contends the State failed to meet its burden to prove the continued detention following the initial stop of her vehicle was constitutional. She additionally argues the stopping officer's failure "to diligently and reasonably investigate the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop" rendered the continued detention unconstitutional.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Shortly before 3:00 a.m. on January 4, 2018, Officer Nicholas Weber of the Waterloo Police Department noticed a black Volkswagen SUV with no rear license plate. Instead of a license plate, the vehicle was donning a "paper dealer plate" on its bumper. Weber also did not observe a temporary registration tag affixed to the vehicle. Weber testified to his understanding of temporary registration tags as follows:

It is my understanding that it is supposed to be placed in lieu of a plate until a plate is issued, placed somewhere where it is visible similar to a license plate so that all numbers, digits, letters can be read clearly and from a reasonable distance.

         Weber initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle, which was driven by Brown. Weber testified the body and windows of the vehicle were dirty. A review of the dash- and body-camera footage admitted as evidence at the suppression hearing supports this characterization. The footage also confirms Weber's testimony that the rear window had dark tint and the district court's description of exhaust "billowing up from the rear driver's side" of the vehicle. At the time he stopped the vehicle, Weber did not observe any temporary registration tags on the vehicle. Weber immediately approached the vehicle. Weber testified to his habit of cautiously approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop and observing the driver for furtive movements. After making contact and a brief exchange, Weber requested Brown's "license, purchase paperwork, and insurance." Weber testified he asked for purchase paperwork instead of a vehicle registration because the vehicle did not have a valid license plate, as he would typically do in such a situation. Brown immediately responded, "I'm going to be honest-I don't have a license." Weber questioned Brown about the status of her driver's license, and Brown advised she has never had a license. Weber then requested identification from Brown and again asked for purchase paperwork and proof of insurance for the vehicle. Brown was able to locate and tender a valid registration for the vehicle but could not locate a license plate to correspond with that registration.

         Weber returned to his vehicle, ran Brown's information through dispatch, and learned Brown's driver's license was suspended. Brown subsequently admitted to the presence of drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was ultimately conducted, which uncovered the paraphernalia, a stun gun, and controlled substances. Officers also learned Brown was the subject of an active arrest warrant. Brown was taken into custody.

         Despite Weber not observing a temporary registration tag on the vehicle when he initiated the traffic stop, one was affixed inside the vehicle on the driver side of the rear window. Weber generally testified he does not recall at what point during the course of the foregoing events he observed the tag. However, he confirmed he did not identify it "immediately on approach." Our review of the video footage in its entirety shows that the view of the temporary registration tag was somewhat obstructed by window tint, dirt, the vehicle's exhaust, and reflective glare, but its presence-but not necessarily the information contained thereon- could be discerned from an inspection.

         Brown was charged by trial information with carrying weapons and three counts of second-offense possession of a controlled substance.[1] She subsequently filed a motion to suppress, arguing the search of her vehicle was in violation of article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. At the suppression hearing, defense counsel clarified she was not challenging the legality of the initial stop or the subsequent search of the vehicle but instead was challenging the legality of the continued detention. The district court denied the motion to suppress. The matter proceeded to ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.