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State v. Bond

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

April 12, 2016


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          Appeal from the District Court for Hall County: WILLIAM T. WRIGHT, Judge.

         Vicky A. Kenney and Matthew A. Works, Deputy Hall County Public Defenders, for appellant.

         Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss for appellee.

         MOORE, Chief Judge, and INBODY and BISHOP, Judges.


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         [23 Neb.App. 917] Bishop, Judge.

         Following a bench trial in the district court for Hall County, Shannon K. Bond was convicted of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a Class IV felony, see Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-416(3) (Cum. Supp. 2014), and sentenced to 4 years' probation. She appeals, contending the district court erred in failing to suppress evidence seized during an allegedly unconstitutional search of her apartment. She argues that without the evidence, there was insufficient evidence to establish her guilt. She also contends the district court improperly imposed a term of probation prohibiting her from having any contact with her boyfriend, Paul J. Turner, who was convicted [23 Neb.App. 918] of drug-related offenses in a consolidated trial with Bond. We affirm.


         On January 21, 2014, Bond was charged by information in the district court for Hall County with possession of methamphetamine. In a separate information filed in the district court for Hall County on the same date, Turner was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana. Bond's and Turner's offenses allegedly occurred on December 3, 2013, in Hall County, Nebraska.

         On May 28, 2014, Bond filed a motion to suppress evidence seized during an allegedly unconstitutional search of the apartment she shared with Turner. She further requested that any statements she made be suppressed, alleging the statements were not freely and voluntarily made. On May 14, Turner had filed a nearly identical motion to suppress in his case.

         Bond and Turner, both of whom were represented by counsel, agreed to a consolidated evidentiary hearing on their motions to suppress; the hearing was held on July 17, 2014. Investigator Sarah Mann of the Grand Island Police Department testified as follows: On December 2, 2013, she went to an address on North Walnut Street in Grand Island, Nebraska, in response to a child abuse hotline intake indicating possible drug use in front of minor children at the address. Upon arriving, she knocked on the door and heard no response. She returned around 1 p.m. the next day, December 3, with Chelsea Willden, an employee of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Investigator Mann realized the door on which she had knocked the prior day led to a staircase, and she opened the

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door and ascended the stairs. At the top of the stairs was the door to an apartment. She knocked on the door and heard a male voice say, " Come in." She continued knocking, and Turner opened the door.

          [23 Neb.App. 919] According to Investigator Mann, she identified herself and Willden, explained they had received a complaint, and asked if they could " come in and chat with him about it." Turner said yes and invited them inside. Mann and Willden talked to Turner about the allegations, and then Bond exited a bedroom and joined the conversation. Mann and Willden explained the allegations to Bond. At some point during this interaction, Investigator Mann saw an individual whom she identified as Dennis Castro sitting in the living room; she learned that Castro had a warrant for his arrest and requested a patrol unit to transport Castro to the jail. Waiting for the patrol unit " took up some time."

         After Castro was transported away, Royal Kottwitz, another investigator with the Grand Island Police Department, noticed a backpack on the living room floor. (On cross-examination, Mann clarified that Investigator Kottwitz was with her and Willden when they arrived at the apartment on December 3, 2013.) Neither Bond nor Turner knew who owned the backpack, and both agreed it could be searched. Upon opening the backpack, Investigator Mann located among other items a hypodermic needle, a small baggie of what appeared to be marijuana, and a glass pipe with white residue. Based on her training and experience, Investigator Mann believed the glass pipe was a " meth pipe."

         Investigator Mann explained that after finding the items in the backpack, there was a discussion about consent to search the apartment. Bond wanted to give consent, but Turner did not. There was a discussion " amongst officers" about whether to seek a search warrant. Bond then asked if she could go to the bathroom and asked Investigator Mann to accompany her. In the bathroom, Bond " was pretty worked up" and told Investigator Mann she would give up " everything" and " wanted to know if that would kind of make all this go away." Investigator Mann told Bond she could not answer that question because she did not know what Bond had. The two women left the bathroom, and Bond led Investigator Mann into the [23 Neb.App. 920] bedroom, where Bond pulled two pipes and a baggie out of her purse. Bond handed the pipes to Investigator Mann and said, " This is my marijuana pipe," and, " This is my meth pipe." The baggie had a white residue that appeared to be methamphetamine.

         After Bond handed the items to her, Investigator Mann told Bond she still wanted to search the apartment. They returned to the living room, and Bond conversed with Turner. According to Investigator Mann, Bond and Turner could not agree whether to give consent and " kind of went back and forth." Every now and then, Investigator Mann would tell them " time's ticking" and ask for a decision. Eventually, Investigator Mann informed Bond and Turner she was leaving to apply for a search warrant, but Bond asked her to wait. After Bond and Turner still could not reach a decision, Investigator Mann said " time's up" and left to seek a search warrant.

         Investigator Mann testified that Officer Wesley Tjaden arrived to " stand by to make sure no evidence was destroyed" while she sought a search warrant. Investigator Mann returned to the police department and had nearly completed her warrant application when Officer Tjaden called to inform her Bond and Turner had decided to consent to the search. Investigator

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Mann, who had not completed the warrant application, returned to the apartment, and Bond and Turner verbally consented to a search and signed consent-to-search forms. The forms were received into evidence; Bond signed her form at 4:05 p.m., and Turner signed his form at 4:10 p.m.

         During the subsequent search of the apartment, Investigator Mann located a makeup or cosmetic bag containing drug paraphernalia and what she believed to be methamphetamine. The bag was located in a magazine rack in the master bedroom, on the side of the bed that Bond indicated was hers. In the nightstand on the other side of the bed, Investigator Kottwitz located a glass marijuana pipe, a marijuana grinder, two broken glass pipes, and a " blue pencil torch." Other drug-related items were located in other places in the master bedroom, [23 Neb.App. 921] including a baggie containing a white crystalline substance on the desk and folded up tinfoil with white residue in the trash can.

         Investigator Mann testified that after locating the items during the search, she gave Turner warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), and that he signed a form waiving his rights. The form was received into evidence and indicated Turner signed the form at 5:15 p.m. When Investigator Mann then asked Turner if the items in the magazine rack were his, Bond spoke up and said they were hers. Investigator Mann placed Bond and Turner under arrest.

         On cross-examination, Investigator Mann testified that prior to going to Bond and Turner's apartment, she and Willden interviewed Turner's 10- and 11-year-old sons at their schools. Neither boy reported witnessing drug use at home. Investigator Mann also spoke with the boys' mother (who was not Bond), and the mother expressed concern that Bond and Turner were " currently using." The mother, who had custody of the boys, did not know what occurred during the boys' visits with Turner.

         Also on cross-examination, Investigator Mann explained that the door on which she knocked on December 2, 2013, was " an outside door off the sidewalk of the business district" in Grand Island. Although she did not recall there being a doorbell, she was shown her police report in which she reported that she rang a doorbell next to the outside door. When she returned on December 3, she realized that because the apartment was in a business district, the door must lead to a staircase to the upstairs apartment. When she opened the door, she saw an enclosed staircase leading to ...

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