STATE V. R.H. (HENNEPIN COUNTY 2016)

R.H. was charged with Third Degree Controlled Substance sale under Minnesota Statute 152.023. The family called 911 while a relative was having a medical emergency. Law enforcement arrived with paramedics. The family member died at the scene. There was no sign of foul play and the death was not suspicious. Without asking for consent or seeking a search warrant, law enforcement proceeded to search the entire home. Law enforcement located a large amount of marijuana in the basement and evidence of a marijuana grow operation. Based on that, law enforcement applied for and obtained a search warrant. After they obtained the search warrant, law enforcement found more marijuana (over 32 pounds total), and large sum of cash. We challenged the warrantless search, arguing that law enforcement violated the 4th Amendment and Article I, Section 10 of the MN Constitution, because law enforcement conducted a search without an exception to the search warrant requirement. We further argued that the search warrant they obtained was illegal because they already conducted an unconstitutional search which lead to the facts they gave to a judge for probable cause to issue a search warrant. The prosecution argued for several exceptions to the search warrant requirement. In the end, the judge agreed with our defense arguments, and granted our motion to suppress the evidence. That left the state with no evidence to prosecute the case.