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Siedentop v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

August 8, 2014

ISAAC D. SIEDENTOP, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Robert B. Downes, Judge. Trial Court No. 4FA-10-4143 CR.

Brooke Berens, Assistant Public Advocate, Appeals and Statewide Defense Section, and Richard Allen, Public Advocate, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Eric A. Ringsmuth, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Hanley, District Court Judge.[*]

OPINION

MANNHEIMER, Judge

Isaac D. Siedentop appeals his convictions for third-degree controlled substance misconduct (possession of cocaine with intent to deliver) and second-degree weapons misconduct (possession of a firearm in furtherance

Page 2

of a felony drug offense).[1] Siedentop argues that the evidence against him was obtained illegally. The evidence was obtained in the following fashion:

On the morning of September 23, 2010, five police and probation officers approached a Fairbanks residence located at 209 Dunbar Street. The officers were trying to serve an arrest warrant on Antonio Mendez, a man who allegedly had absconded from electronic monitoring. The officers went to the Dunbar Street address because they had received information from Mendez's wife that Mendez " was associating" with a woman at that address.

The police were aware that this address was reputed to be a drug house, and they were concerned that their arrival might precipitate trouble, so two of the officers went to the back of the house while the other three officers walked up to the front door and knocked.

Siedentop was in the Dunbar Street house; he responded to the knocking by opening the front door. When Siedentop opened the door, one of the officers stuck his foot across the threshold to prevent Siedentop from closing the door again.

The officers had no specific concerns about Siedentop, and initially they only questioned him about whether he lived at the house, and whether the owner of the house was present. But the officers perceived Siedentop to be " fidgety" and " pretty nervous" in their presence -- so, after less than a minute of conversation, one of the officers asked Siedentop if he had any weapons on him. Siedentop responded by pointing to his waist and declaring that he was carrying two weapons.

Based on Siedentop's statement, one of the officers patted him down and discovered a hunting knife, a handgun, an extra magazine for this handgun, and approximately $2000 in cash. The officer thereupon removed Siedentop from the residence and took him to a patrol car, where the officer conducted a second search. This second search revealed bindles of powder cocaine, a rock of crack cocaine, and a digital scale. These various discoveries led to the charges against Siedentop.

The primary question in this appeal is whether the officer acted unlawfully when he stuck his foot across the threshold to prevent Siedentop from closing the front door of the ...


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