STATE v. DENNIS EARL THOMPSON, SC 18740

Judicial District of New Haven

 

†††† Criminal; Search and Seizure; Whether the Defendant had Standing to Challenge the Search of Codefendant's House and Garage; Whether Search of Defendant's Vehicle was Conducted Prior to Issuance of Search Warrant. †On May 17, 2007, the police obtained a warrant to search the residence of Edward Jevarjian, which they executed before 10:00 p.m. the same day.† The search resulted in the seizure of approximately 600 pounds of marijuana from Jevarjian's home and garage and from the defendant's recreational vehicle parked on Jevarjian's property.† The defendant was sleeping in his recreational vehicle when the police commenced the search.† Both the defendant and Jevarjian were charged with crimes that included possession of marijuana with intent to sell.† Jevarjian filed a motion to suppress the seized evidence, claiming that the search was unconstitutional because it was commenced prior to the time the judge signed the search warrant.† In support of his claim, Jevarjian claimed that the judge noted the time as 10:51 p.m. when he signed each page of the search warrant. †The defendant joined in Jevarjian's motion to suppress.† After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court determined that the defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in Jevarjian's house and garage and, therefore, he lacked standing to challenge that portion of the search.† This conclusion was based on findings that the defendant was not Jevarjian's overnight guest or social invitee with respect to the home and garage, and that the defendant was sleeping in his recreational vehicle at the time of the search.† Consequently, the court concluded that the defendant only had standing to challenge the search of his recreational vehicle. †Next, based on testimony from several witnesses, the court determined that the time noted by the judge on the search warrant was a scrivener's error and that the search had commenced after the judge signed the warrant.† Accordingly, the court denied the motion to suppress.† Subsequently, the defendant entered a plea of nolo contendere conditioned on his right to appeal from the court's denial of his motion to suppress.† On appeal, the defendant claimed that the trial court improperly ruled that he lacked standing to challenge the search of the house and garage.† The Appellate Court (124 Conn. App. 353) rejected that claim, holding that the trial court's ruling was not clearly erroneous.† The defendant next challenged the trial court's conclusion that the search of his recreational vehicle was not premature.† The Appellate Court rejected that claim as well, noting that it had rejected the same argument in Jevarjian's appeal.† See State v. Jevarjian, 124 Conn. App. 331 (2010), cert. granted, 299 Conn. 923 (2011).† In that appeal, the Appellate Court determined that the evidence supported the trial court's determination that the search was conducted subsequent to the time when the trial judge signed the warrant and that the time noted on the warrant by the judge was a scrivener's error.† In this appeal, the Supreme Court will review the Appellate Courtís decision.