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State v. Lasley-Eakins

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 23, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DANIELLE LASLEY-EAKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Daniel Kitchen, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals her convictions for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. AFFIRMED.

          Beau A. Bergmann of Bergmann Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Mt. Pleasant, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik, Tyler J. Buller, and Kyle Hanson, Assistant Attorneys General, and Benjamin Kenkel, Student Legal Intern, for appellee.

          Heard by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE

         Danielle Lasley-Eakins appeals from her convictions for possession of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine. On appeal, she challenges the district court's denial of her motion to suppress. We affirm.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         In May 2017, law enforcement executed a warrant at a residence in Batavia, Iowa, in connection with a narcotics investigation. Lasley-Eakins drove up to the residence in a Honda Accord. When asked to produce identification, Lasley-Eakins provided a non-driver ID. Lasley-Eakins admitted her license was suspended.

         An officer confirmed her license was suspended and placed her under arrest for driving while suspended. Officers did not provide Lasley-Eakins an opportunity to remove anything from the vehicle, to lock and secure it at the residence, or to arrange for someone to pick it up. Instead, they searched the vehicle in anticipation of impoundment.

         During their inventory search, law enforcement found what appeared to be marijuana, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia in Lasley-Eakins's handbag. Subsequent testing confirmed that recovered substances included marijuana and methamphetamine. So the State charged Lasley-Eakins with possession of both substances.

         Lasley-Eakins moved to suppress. She argued the search of the vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution.

         The district court denied the motion to suppress. In its order, the district court only referenced "the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution." And the court only cited Fourth Amendment caselaw. It made no mention of the Iowa Constitution. Nor did it cite any case that mentioned the Iowa Constitution.[1]Although the order cited two Iowa cases-State v. Huisman, 544 N.W.2d 433 (Iowa 1996), and State v. Jackson, 542 N.W.2d 842 (Iowa 1996)-neither of those cases mentioned the Iowa Constitution. They were both Fourth Amendment cases. See Huisman, 544 N.W.2d at 435 ("We hold the Fourth Amendment demands the impoundment decision be made according to standardized criteria and an administrative or caretaking reason to impound exists."); Jackson, 542 N.W.2d at 845 ("Inventory searches are a 'well-defined exception' to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment, have nothing to do with the concept of probable cause, and are unrelated to the formal criminal investigatory process.").

         After the court denied her motion to suppress, Lasley-Eakins agreed to a trial on the minutes. The court found ...


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