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State of Idaho v. Richard Hansen

July 11, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RICHARD HANSEN,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Gregory M. Culet, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

2011 Opinion No. 84

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The denial of the motion to suppress is affirmed.

I. NATURE OF THE CASE

Richard Hansen appeals from the district court's denial of his motion to suppress. He contends that a probationer living in an RV on his property lacked actual or apparent authority to consent to a search of the common areas in his home. Hansen asserts that the drugs discovered during that search should be suppressed, along with further evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant the State later obtained. Since the officers in this case reasonably believed the probationer had apparent authority to consent to the search, we affirm the denial of the motion to suppress.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 2007, two probation officers and two sheriff's deputies traveled to Appellant Richard Hansen's home near Middleton, Idaho, to arrest Allan Kirsch for a probation violation. Kirsch had listed Hansen's address as his place of residence on a probation intake form. When the officers arrived, they saw Kirsch outside near Hansen's attached carport, attempting to run away. After the officers caught and detained Kirsch, he initially told the officers that he lived in Hansen's house, but later stated that he in fact lived in a recreational vehicle ("RV") roughly fifty to seventy-five yards away from the house at the opposite end of Hansen's property. The RV did not have any power or water hook-ups. Both Kirsch and another man staying in Hansen's home also indicated that Kirsch came into Hansen's house at will to shower and use the telephone.

One of the terms of Kirsch's probation was that he consented to a search of his real property, automobile, and any other property. The officers entered Hansen's home believing that Kirsch had authority to consent to a search of all the common areas. They did not attempt to contact Hansen before entering his home. In the bathroom they found a syringe they believed contained methamphetamine as well as other drug paraphernalia. The sheriff's deputies then relied on the syringe to obtain a search warrant for the rest of Hansen's home. Upon executing the search warrant, deputies discovered additional drugs and paraphernalia in Hansen's locked bedroom. The investigating officers used the evidence seized from Hansen's bedroom to charge him with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver.

Hansen moved to suppress the evidence seized from his bedroom, contending that Kirsch lacked the authority to consent to a search of the common areas in Hansen's house and that, even if Kirsch could have consented, the police still lacked probable cause for a search warrant. After a hearing, the district court denied the motion to suppress, finding that Kirsch had joint access to Hansen's home and therefore had actual authority to consent to a search of the common areas as a condition of his probation. The district court also held that the syringe in Hansen's bathroom provided sufficient probable cause to justify a search warrant for his entire house. Hansen then entered a conditional guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, reserving the right to appeal.*fn1

On appeal, Hansen contends that Kirsch lacked both actual and apparent authority to consent to a search of his home or any part of it. Hansen also argues that, even if the officers had authority to search his home, the syringe they found in his bathroom would not create probable cause sufficient to issue a home-search warrant. A divided Idaho Court of Appeals vacated the district court's decision, holding that Kirsch lacked actual or apparent authority to consent to a home search and, accordingly, the search warrant based on the syringe was invalid. This Court granted the State's petition for review of that decision.

III. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether the warrantless search of Hansen's home was based ...


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