- State police officers, armed with a valid warrant to arrest Peter Swope for the crime of defrauding the state welfare agency of $100,000, stopped Swope in his car on the Turnpike. He was taken into custody, and his auto was locked and left on the shoulder of the road. Later that day the state troopers returned and searched Swope’s car. They located a plastic bag on the passenger seat, which they brought back to the station and opened to find a large quantity of illegal explosives. Although the welfare fraud charges have been dropped, the prosecution intends to use the explosives in an upcoming trial for possession of illegal explosives. Swope’s counsel has filed a motion to suppress and has persuaded the court that because there was no probable cause to believe seizable items were present in the car, the search was unlawful. Is there any way the prosecution can nonetheless avoid suppression of the explosives? What if state police regulations require that vehicles of persons taken into custody on the open road be impounded and subjected to a prescribed inventory inspection?
- On December 10, the managers of Woodward Apartments in Lundwick, N.C., notified their tenants in writing that an exterminating company would begin spraying apartments on December 15. Aparment B-2 of Woodward Apartments was leased to Tiffany Darstraum. On December 15, while working in Darstraum’s apartment, the exterminator discovered a locked closet in an upstairs bedroom. Brent Andrews and Carol Kencik, the apartment managers, unlocked the closet to allow extermination of the area inside. After gaining entry to the locked closet, Andrews, Kencik, and the exterminator observed artificial light devices, plant food, plant tools, and about 30 plants in planters that they recognized to be marijuana. The apartment managers called the police.
In response to the call, the Lundwick Police Department dispatched Patrolman Clay Polgers to the scene. Polgers, accompanied by Andrews and Kencik, entered Darstraum’s apartment and observed the plants inside the closet. Polgers removed everyone from the apartment and called narcotics detectives. When the detectives arrived, Polgers was standing at the front door. Also present were Kencik, Andrews, and the exterminator.
After interviewing Andrews, Kencik, and the exterminator, and Polgers, the detectives presented the magistrate with an affidavit in support of their request for a search warrant. After obtaining the warrant, the detectives conducted a search of Darstraum’s apartment and seized marijuana plants and paraphernalia.
Darstraum was charged with drug offenses and moved to suppress all evidence seized as a result of the search. The judge held a hearing on the motion, and at the hearing, one of the detectives testified that she would have attempted to obtain a warrant based solely on her conversation with the apartment managers and the exterminator.
How should the judge rule on Darstraum’s suppression motion?