FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. CR-2015-90-A]
HONORABLE STEPHEN TABOR, JUDGE.
L. Dunagin, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Valerie Glover Fortner,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
K. WOOD, Associate Justice.
Adam Lane, a parolee, appeals the judgment of the Sebastian
County Circuit Court denying his motion to suppress evidence
that officers discovered in his hotel room. Lane argues on
appeal that the circuit court erred in denying his motion
because the officers entered without a warrant and without
knocking and announcing their presence in compliance with the
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
article II, section 15 of the Arkansas Constitution. It is an
issue of first impression in Arkansas whether the
knock-and-announce rule applies to parolees, and if it does
apply, whether the exclusionary rule is the appropriate
remedy. Lane also argues that that circuit court should have
granted his motion in limine to exclude an affidavit in which
he took criminal responsibility for the contraband discovered
in the hotel room. We hold that the knock-and-announce rule
applies to parolees, but that the exclusionary rule is not
the appropriate remedy. We also hold that Lane's
affidavit should not be excluded under the Arkansas Rules of
Evidence. Therefore, we affirm.
January 2015, Lane, who was on parole from the Arkansas
Department of Correction, was staying at a hotel in Fort
Smith. Lane had appeared for his initial parole intake but
had failed to report to his Arkansas Department of Community
Corrections parole officer, Adam Nading, in January as
instructed. Lane also had violated a condition of his release
by staying at the hotel, which was not his primary residence,
without prior approval.
learned that Lane was staying at the hotel and went there
with a Fort Smith police officer. The hotel manager used an
electronic key device to open the locked door for the
officers. The officers did not knock or announce their
presence before entering the room. Lane, who had been asleep
in bed with a female companion, was arrested by the officers.
Next to the bed, officers observed several baggies containing
methamphetamine. The officers discovered more methamphetamine
and a handgun in the bed.
his arrest, Lane authored a statement wherein he stated that
the drugs found in the hotel room were his, not his
companion's. A jail employee notarized the statement.
Lane was charged as a habitual criminal offender with
simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, possession of
methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and possession of
drug paraphernalia. He filed a motion to suppress the
evidence seized during his arrest on the basis that the
officers entered his hotel room without a warrant and failed
to knock and announce their presence. He also filed a motion
in limine to exclude the signed statement. The circuit court
denied both motions. The jury convicted Lane of the charges,
and the circuit court sentenced Lane to seventy years'
Motion to Suppress
review a trial court's denial of a motion to suppress
evidence de novo, we make an independent determination based
on the totality of the circumstances. Cherry v.
State, 302 Ark. 462, 731 S.W.2d 354 (1990). We reverse
the trial court only if the ruling was clearly against the
preponderance of the evidence. Id.
resolve the issue presented here, we first must decide
whether the officers lawfully entered the hotel room without
a warrant. If we determine that their entry was lawful, we
then must determine whether the "knock and
announce" rules of the Fourth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and article II, section 15 of the
Arkansas Constitution apply to parolees. If knock and
announce does apply, and since the parties agree that there
were no exigent circumstances, we must then decide whether
exclusion of the evidence is warranted.
first conclude that the officers' warrantless entry into
Lane's hotel room was lawful. As part of his
"Conditions of Release" from the Arkansas
Department of Correction, Lane consented to a warrantless
search and seizure of his "person, place of residence,
and motor vehicles." In Cherry, we held that
such consents-in-advance do not violate the Fourth Amendment
because "[t]he special needs of the parole process call
for intensive supervision of the parolee making the warrant
requirement impractical" and because parolees have a
"diminished expectation of privacy." Id.
at 467, 731 S.W.2d at 357. However, parole officers may carry
out searches only if reasonable grounds exist to investigate
whether the parolee had violated the terms of his parole.
the entry into Lane's hotel room was lawful because
reasonable grounds existed. Lane had violated a condition of
his parole by failing to report to Nading in January.
Furthermore, among the conditions of Lane's parole was
that he not stay away from his designated residence without
prior approval from his parole officer. Nading had not
approved Lane's stay at the ...