New Hampshire v. SchulzAnnotate this Case
Defendant Logan Schulz appealed his convictions for being an accomplice to possession of cocaine, and an accomplice to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He argued that the Superior Court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the search warrant for his home was unconstitutional both on its face and in its execution. In 2010, a Haverhill Police officer went to the home that Defendant shared with his mother to serve her with a notice against trespass and harassment. While lawfully inside the home, the officer saw three long guns near a staircase. Knowing that the defendant's mother was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms, the officer sought a warrant to search the home. Early in the search, they learned that the three guns near the staircase were, in fact, "BB" guns and were not unlawful for the defendant's mother to possess. The officers then continued the search and asked the defendant whether there were any additional guns in the house. The defendant informed them that he had a muzzle loader rifle and took them to his bedroom to show it to them. In the room, the officer observed a lock box large enough to contain a handgun but too small to contain a long gun, and told the defendant to open it, noting that the officers could open it by force if necessary. Both the defendant and his mother protested on the grounds that the police had no reason to believe they had a handgun. The defendant's mother then became upset and admitted that the lock box contained cocaine and money. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the police were required to discontinue their search after discovering that the guns they had believed to be firearms were, in fact, BB guns. The warrant contained no other facts upon which the police might have relied in continuing to believe that the search was justified. As a result, the officers' continued search of the defendant's home under authority of the warrant was unconstitutional.