What does “free and voluntary consent” mean in Minnesota?
Here’s a quiz! See how your notion of free and voluntary consent compares with that of Minnesota appellate courts.
Did the court find free and voluntary consent when “Terry” allowed the search?
1. An officer placed Terry in a squad car, got into the squad car himself, and then repeatedly asked Terry to hand over his wallet.
2. Two officers boarded a Greyhound bus and announced (I'm paraphrasing) “We’re looking for drugs and any searches will be consensual.” An officer asked Terry if he could search his body.(1) After finding nothing on Terry, the officers asked him to point out his luggage. After locating his bag, the officers asked Terry if they could search it.(2) After finding unused plastic baggies in his bag, the officers asked to search Terry again.(3)
3. Terry opened the front door of his apartment to find three policemen, with guns drawn and an arrest warrant for someone else. The police asked if they could search his apartment.
4. An officer arrested Terry and brought her to the police station. The officer told Terry that the law required her to submit to a search, and if she didn't allow the search she’d be charged with a crime. Terry asked if the officer had a warrant; he said no. Terry told the officer “[b]ecause I am being coerced, I will [let you search]” and “I’ll [allow the search] because I am required to.”
5. Same circumstances as 4. Terry said “I guess I will [let you search], but I am not consenting."
6. Terry was stopped for a petty misdemeanor, frisked for weapons, and placed in the back of a locked squad car. He signed a consent to search form that said he could refuse the search. The officers asked for consent to search his car as they handed him a warning ticket.
7. Officers encountered Terry at the entry to his home and ordered him to the ground at gun point. The officers holstered their guns and let Terry stand up, then asked if they could search his home.
8. In response to a caller’s concerns, three deputies confronted Terry through his front door. Terry spent 10-15 minutes assuring the deputies on his doorstep that he was not suicidal, and didn’t have a gun. One deputy asked Terry if they could search his home for a shotgun; he told Terry that he did not have to let them look.
9. An officer stopped Terry on his motorcycle. After issuing warnings, the officer asked if he could search Terry’s bike. When Terry told the officer it would be a waste of time, the officer responded that it was his time to waste. The officer asked Terry to unlock the saddlebags. Terry did so.
10. Officers arrested Terry and brought her to the station. An officer told Terry that the law required her to submit to a warrantless search, and refusing to allow the search would be a crime. Terry allowed the search, but the search equipment malfunctioned. Then Terry allowed another search, and another, and another. After four attempted searches the officer still hadn’t found any evidence. Did Terry commit a crime?
1. State v. Dezso, 512 N.W.2d 877 (Minn.1994) No
2. State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90 (Minn.1999) (1) Yes (2) Yes (3) No
3. State v. Mendez, No. A14-0405, 2014 WL 7237098 (Minn.Ct.App. Dec. 22, 2014) No
4. Poeschel v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, No. A15-0142, 2015 WL 6442564 (Minn.Ct.App. Oct. 26, 2015) Yes
5. Kraus v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, No. A14-0646, 2014 WL 5507068 (Minn.Ct.App. Nov. 3, 2014), review denied (Jan. 28, 2015) Yes
6. State v. Bell, 557 N.W.2d 603 (Minn.Ct.App.1996), review denied (Minn. Mar. 18, 1997) No
7. State v. Alayon, 459 N.W.2d 325 (Minn.1990) Yes
8. State v. Bunce, 669 N.W.2d 394 (Minn.Ct.App.2003), review denied (Minn. Dec. 16, 2003) Yes
9. State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575 (Minn.1997) No
10. Stevens v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 850 N.W.2d 717 (Minn.Ct.App. 2014) Yes