Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Summary 2009 WY 27

Summary of Decision issued February 26, 2009

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Mueller v. State

Citation: 2009 WY 27

Docket Number: S-08-0057

Appeal from the District Court of Washakie County, the Honorable Gary P. Hartman, Judge.

Representing Appellant Mueller: Diane M. Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee State: Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jenny L. Craig, Assistant Attorney General.

Facts/Discussion: Mueller was convicted by a jury of felony possession of methamphetamine which police found while executing a search warrant at her basement apartment.
Mueller contended that the search warrant was constitutionally infirm because the affidavit submitted failed to contain sufficient information to support the judicial officer’s finding of probable cause. The existence of probable cause justifying the issuance of a search warrant requires the factual situation described in the affidavit must be sufficient to cause a reasonably cautious person to believe that a crime was being committed or that it had been committed and that there must be an adequate showing that the fruits of the crime were in the structure or area sought to be searched. The Court noted in Rohda v. State, the officer must make a practical common sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit, there was a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place. The affidavit contained information regarding the theft of the Mercury Sable, the personal items that were in the vehicle, the approximate time the car was stolen, the observation that the stolen car was spotted parked outside an apartment building and that men were observed removing plastic boxes from the vehicle and placing them in the basement apartment. The judicial officer had a substantial basis on which to conclude that evidence of criminal activity could be found in the basement apartment. The affidavit contained information provided by citizen informants who are generally entitled to a presumption of reliability. In addition, the information included first-hand observation of the informants and was specific and detailed. The specificity of the information, coupled with the corroboration by other individuals, strongly indicated the informants were reliable.

Conclusion: The affidavit when read in its entirety provided a substantial basis for the warrant-issuing judicial officer’s finding of probable cause. The Court found no error in the district court’s denial of Mueller’s motion to suppress.


J. Golden delivered the decision.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/boo8cd .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

No comments:

Check out our tags in a cloud (from Wordle)!