Interest of K.V.Annotate this Case
K.V. appealed a juvenile court memorandum opinion, issued after remand, that denied his motion to suppress evidence. K.V. was charged and adjudicated a delinquent child for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia in January 2019. K.V. moved to suppress the evidence gathered after the stop. Following a hearing on the motion to suppress, the juvenile court issued an order denying K.V.’s motion. K.V. appealed, arguing the warrantless search violated the Fourth Amendment. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded for reconsideration because the juvenile court did not make specific findings on the reasonableness of the pat down and did not identify what exception to the warrant requirement justified the search. Following remand, the juvenile court issued the memorandum opinion at issue here. The court concluded the pat down was justified based on officer safety, but determined the further search was not supported by the record for officer safety, because the officer did not identify what he felt during the pat down. However, relying on precedent from another jurisdiction that did not require individualized suspicion to search a passenger when the odor of marijuana is emanating from a vehicle, the court found, that based on what he saw, heard and smelled, the officer believed he had probable cause to search K.V. for marijuana and related paraphernalia. The court concluded, “based on the totality of the circumstances that Officer Engen had probable cause to search the person of K.V. for illegal drugs and the search was legal.” The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the juvenile court erred in concluding the officers had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of K.V. under the totality of the circumstances, and reversed the juvenile court’s memorandum opinion denying K.V.’s motion to suppress and the order adjudicating K.V. a delinquent child.