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State v. Bennett

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

June 2, 2015

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
STARR BENNETT, Appellant

Appeal from the Superior Court in Yavapai County. No. P1300CR201201287. The Honorable Cele Hancock, Judge.

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix, By Jana Zinman, Counsel for Appellee.

David Goldberg, Fort Collins, CO, Counsel for Appellant.

Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Margaret H. Downie and Judge Patricia K. Norris joined.

OPINION

Page 364

Randall M. Howe, Judge:

¶1 Starr Bennett appeals her convictions for production of marijuana and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She argues that the trial court abused its discretion in denying her motion to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless search. Because the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement justified the search here, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 The police received a " 911 hang up" call, and after a failed attempt to reach the caller, the 911 dispatcher sent two deputy sheriffs to a specific address near Paulden, Arizona. According to the Sheriff's Office policies and procedures, 911 hang-up calls are treated as emergencies and deputies are required to respond to the location and check for any emergency and on the well-being of the person who may have called.

¶3 When the deputies arrived at the address, they noticed a main structure and a smaller structure. They knocked on the

Page 365

main structure's front door, but no one responded. They then walked around the side past an unlocked gate to an enclosed patio. The deputies looked inside the windows, but saw no one and heard nothing. One of the deputies stood on a pedestal and looked inside a window. Inside and to the " right of the window [that the deputy] was looking into," both deputies saw part of a marijuana plant. After attempting to open the patio door, they turned around and noticed several potted marijuana plants in the smaller structure's yard.

¶4 Soon after, Bennett came out of the smaller structure, and the deputies went over and talked to her. She was " [v]ery cooperative, very kind, pleasant." The deputies asked Bennett if she called 911; she said no. At that point, the deputies were satisfied that they had no emergency.

¶5 The deputies subsequently asked Bennett about the marijuana plants. She said that the plants were hers and that she used them for medicinal purposes, although she did not have a medical marijuana card. The deputies asked for the plants, and Bennett put them in burlap bags. Bennett subsequently let the deputies inside the smaller structure where she gave them marijuana stored in a coffee can, marijuana cigarettes, and marijuana buds. After the deputies left, the 911 dispatcher told them that someone with a cell phone accidentally placed the call. The dispatcher had learned this information eight to ten ...


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