COA affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence due to wrong address listed on search warrant

Neither a Lagro man’s federal nor state constitutional rights were infringed upon when sheriff’s deputies searched his home despite having the wrong address listed on their search warrant.

The Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed the denial of Frederick Lundquist’s motion to suppress evidence on Thursday in Frederick M. Lundquist v. State of Indiana, 21A-CR-851.

Upon receipt of a complaint that alleged that Frederick Lundquist had used a .22 rifle to shoot and kill a pitbull as retribution for the pitbull having killed a goat, the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as well as Lundquist’s parole officer. Deputies were advised that possession of the gun would constitute a federal offense as well as a violation of the terms of Lundquist’s then-active parole.

Deputy Cody Gibson then sought a warrant to search Lundquist’s home, of which he was familiar. Lundquist’s home is separated from his mother’s home by a horseshoe-style driveway on the same property; Lundquist’s mother owns both homes, but they have separate addresses.

Lundquist’s home is on the west side of the driveway and is a one-story gray residence with a front door facing northeast. Lundquist’s mother resides on the east side of the driveway in a two-story log cabin with a front door that faces south.

Gibson drafted the warrant listing Lundquist’s mother’s address, but correctly described the physical characteristics of Lundquist’s residence as “a one-story residence, grey in color, with a front door facing northeast . . . on the west side of the horseshoe driveway.”

Deputies discovered a shotgun and accompanying ammunition, a .22 caliber rifle and accompanying ammunition, a plastic bucket containing marijuana, and a bowl of white powder alongside a rolled-up dollar bill inside Lundquist’s home.

Gibson then sought a second search warrant that was not limited to Lundquist’s residence, but which allowed police to search outbuildings and the garage associated with Lundquist’s home, the shed, and cellphones that might contain evidence of drug possession or sale. The second warrant repeated the mistake of listing the incorrect address, but once again accurately described the physical characteristic.

Meanwhile, Lundquist was arrested as part of a traffic stop. During the stop, Lundquist’s parole officer searched Lundquist’s vehicle and discovered marijuana.

In April 2018, the state charged Lundquist with Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and Level 6 felony possession of marijuana with a prior drug conviction. In a separate count, the state alleged that Lundquist is a habitual offender.

Lundquist filed a motion to suppress the evidence found during the search of his home on the grounds the warrants did not list his address, but rather listed the address of his mother.

After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion to suppress and the appeal ensued.

Lundquist argued the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 2, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

The COA sided with the trial court on both issues.

On the first contention, the court cited Salyer v. State, 938 N.E.2d 239, 241 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) and  Dost v. State, 812 N.E.2d 232, 235 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), among others, in finding Lundquist’s Fourth Amendment Rights weren’t infringed upon.

“In the case at bar, Deputy Gibson, who served the warrants, had personal knowledge of the property to be searched, and the physical description contained in the warrants was accurate,” Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote for the COA. “Most importantly, the house actually searched was indeed Lundquist’s residence, which is the location that officers aimed to search when they sought the warrant.”

The COA also denied Lundquist’s complaint regarding state laws, citing Hess v. State, 198 Ind. 1, 151 N.E. 405 (1926).

“No reasonable officer would read the list of descriptors listed in the warrant, including the inaccurate address, and conclude that he had discretion to search the home of Lundquist’s mother,” Tavitas continued.

In a final footnote, the COA addressed its decision to analyze the issues both under state and federal constitutions.

“We recognize that the result in this case is the same under both federal and state constitutional analyses,” Tavitas wrote. “We are careful to note, however, that coinciding results should not be confused for the idea that the two separate analyses are duplicative. We expressly leave for another day the question of whether separate analyses of the particularity requirements found in both the federal and state constitutions will always yield identical results.”

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