District Court, Manti Department The Honorable Marvin D.
Bagley No. 151600122
N. Holtan, Attorney for Appellant
D. Reyes and Nathan D. Anderson, Attorneys for Appellee
Ryan M. Harris authored this Opinion, in which Judges Gregory
K. Orme and Diana Hagen concurred.
In the course of executing a search warrant for a stolen cell
phone at Defendant Jeremy Roberts's home, a police
officer (Officer) discovered three prescription pill bottles
that contained various pills and that were labeled with names
other than Defendant's. A short time later, Officer
sought and received a second warrant to search
Defendant's property for drugs and, in the course of
executing that second warrant, Officer discovered
methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.
After being charged with various drug-related crimes,
Defendant moved to suppress the evidence discovered pursuant
to the second warrant, but the district court denied his
motion. Defendant eventually pleaded guilty to one count of
possession or use of a controlled substance, while reserving
the right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress.
After review, we conclude that the district court correctly
denied Defendant's motion to suppress, and therefore
A shopper's cell phone was stolen from a supermarket in
Gunnison, Utah. The shopper contacted local law enforcement
officers, who arranged to send a signal to the phone and
thereby determined that its SIM card had last been located at
Defendant's residence. Thereafter, local law enforcement
officers visited Defendant's residence and questioned
Defendant about the phone and, while he initially denied any
knowledge of the phone, Defendant eventually stated that
"some kids from Fillmore" had arrived at his
residence with a phone and that he had recommended they
return the phone to the supermarket.
The officers then contacted the supermarket and learned that
someone had returned a phone matching the description of the
shopper's cell phone. The returned phone, which was the
same model as the shopper's phone, was damaged and
missing its SIM card. The officers showed the phone to the
shopper, who was unable to identify the returned phone as
his. Officer then returned to Defendant's residence and
questioned him about the phone for a second time. Defendant
again began by denying that he knew anything about the phone,
then repeated his assertion that "some kids from
Fillmore" had shown up with the phone, then began to
give "vague" and "very inconsistent"
answers to Officer's questions about both the "kids
from Fillmore" and the phone. Suspicious of
Defendant's answers, Officer electronically applied for,
and received, a warrant to search Defendant's residence
for the phone and its SIM card. Officer served the warrant on
Defendant and began the search.
Officer entered the front door of Defendant's residence,
which opened directly into a kitchen. While searching the
kitchen, Officer opened a cabinet and found several
prescription bottles. Some of the bottles were labeled, but
none of the labels bore Defendant's name; indeed, the
medications had apparently been prescribed to three different
people, none of whom lived in Defendant's residence. The
label for one of the bottles indicated that it contained
"duloxetine, " an anti-depressant and pain
reliever. Two of the bottles contained unlabeled mixed pills.
After finding these bottles, Officer was informed by another
officer on the scene that the SIM card for the missing phone
had been found on Defendant's lawn. At that point,
Officer ceased his search for the phone, exited
Defendant's residence, and electronically applied for a
second search warrant. In his affidavit supporting this
application, Officer indicated that he had reason to believe
that, due to Defendant's possession of "several
prescription bottles with pills inside that are prescribed to
people that do not live at [Defendant's] residence,
" Officer would find additional "[p]rescription
drugs, drug paraphernalia, " and/or "drugs"
inside Defendant's residence. A magistrate promptly
granted Officer's request for a second search warrant.
Soon thereafter, Officer served the second warrant on
Defendant, and during the search Officer found heroin,
methamphetamine, marijuana, and various items of drug
paraphernalia in Defendant's house.
The State charged Defendant with use or possession of heroin,
use or possession of methamphetamine, use or possession of
marijuana, and two counts of use or possession of drug
paraphernalia. Defendant moved to suppress all of the
evidence obtained by the execution of the second search
warrant, arguing that the second search warrant was not
supported by probable cause. The district court denied
Defendant's motion to suppress, holding that the facts in
Officer's second affidavit were sufficient to support the
magistrate's determination that the warrant was based on
probable cause. After the denial of his motion to suppress,
Defendant pled guilty to one count of use or possession of a
controlled substance, a third degree felony, while reserving
the right to appeal the denial of his motion to
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
The sole issue on appeal is whether the district court erred
in denying Defendant's motion to suppress. "We
review a [district] court's decision to grant or deny a
motion to suppress for an alleged Fourth Amendment violation
as a mixed question of law and fact." State v.
Fuller, 2014 UT 29, ¶ 17, 332 P.3d 937. "While
the court's factual findings are reviewed for clear
error, its legal ...