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State v. Hidalgo

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 9, 2017

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Robert Hidalgo, appellant.

         1. Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure: Motions to Suppress: Appeal and Error.

         In reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress based on a claimed violation of the Fourth Amendment, an appellate court applies a two-part standard of review. Regarding historical facts, an appellate court reviews the trial court's findings for clear error. But whether those facts trigger or violate Fourth Amendment protections is a question of law that an appellate court reviews independently of the trial court's determination.

         2. Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure: Search Warrants.

         The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and further provides that no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

         3. Constitutional Law: Search Warrants: Probable Cause.

         The execution of a search warrant without probable cause is unreasonable and violates constitutional guarantees.

         4. Search Warrants: Affidavits: Probable Cause.

         A search warrant, to be valid, must be supported by an affidavit which establishes probable cause.

         5. Search Warrants: Probable Cause: Words and Phrases.

         Probable cause sufficient to justify issuance of a search warrant means a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.

         6. Search Warrants: Affidavits: Probable Cause: Appeal and Error.

         In reviewing the strength of an affidavit submitted as a basis for finding probable cause to issue a search warrant, an appellate court applies a totality of the circumstances test. The question is whether, under the [296 Neb. 913] totality of the circumstances illustrated by the affidavit, the issuing magistrate had a substantial basis for finding that the affidavit established probable cause.

         7. Search Warrants: Affidavits: Evidence: Appeal and Error.

         In evaluating the sufficiency of an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant, an appellate court is restricted to consideration of the information and circumstances contained within the four corners of the affidavit, and evidence which emerges after the warrant is issued has no bearing on whether the warrant was validly issued.

         8. Search Warrants: Affidavits: Probable Cause: Appeal and Error.

         When a search warrant is obtained on the strength of an informant's information, the affidavit in support of the issuance of the warrant must (1) set forth facts demonstrating the basis of the informant's knowledge of criminal activity and (2) establish the informant's credibility, or the informant's credibility must be established in the affidavit through a police officer's independent investigation. These two prongs are not accorded independent status, but, rather, are better understood as relevant considerations in the totality-of-the-circumstances analysis that traditionally has guided probable-cause determinations: a deficiency in one may be compensated for, in determining the overall reliability of a tip, by a strong showing as to the other, or by some other indicia of reliability.

         9. Search Warrants: Affidavits.

         Among the ways in which the reliability of an informant may be established are by showing in the affidavit to obtain a search warrant that (1) the informant has given reliable information to police officers in the past, (2) the informant is a citizen informant, (3) the informant has made a statement that is against his or her penal interest, and (4) a police officer's independent investigation establishes the informant's reliability or the reliability of the information the informant has given.

         10. ___: ___. An affidavit in support of the issuance of a search warrant must affirmatively set forth the circumstances from which the status of the informant can reasonably be inferred.

         11. Search Warrants: Motor Vehicles.

         As a general rule, vehicles located on premises described in a warrant may be searched, even if the vehicle is not specifically listed in the warrant.

         Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: Duane C. Dougherty, Judge. Affirmed.

          Michael J. Wilson and Glenn A. Shapiro, of Schaefer Shapiro, L.L.P., for appellant.

         [296 Neb. 914] Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Austin N. Relph for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Kelch, and Funke, JJ.

          HEAVICAN, C.J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Following a stipulated bench trial, Robert Hidalgo was convicted of one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and was sentenced to 3 to 5 ...


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