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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
January 17, 2012

2012 CO 1. No. 11SA217. People v. Strimple.
U.S. Constitution—Fourth Amendment—Suppression of Evidence—Co-Tenant’s Consent to Police Search of Shared Premises in Absence of Physical Presence of Other Co-Tenant.

The prosecution charged defendant Christopher Strimple with possession of an explosive or incendiary device and other crimes after a police search of the home he shared with Gabriele Thompson, his common law wife, was conducted. Police responded to the home when Thompson complained of domestic abuse. When police arrived, Strimple refused to let them in, threatened to kill officers if they entered, and engaged officers in a tense stand-off for nearly forty-five minutes. He eventually surrendered peacefully, and police took him into custody. 

The police conducted an initial warrantless search of the home to locate and ensure the safety of children in the home and to locate a handgun Strimple said was inside the home. Thompson consented to an additional search, during which the police discovered knives, a pipe bomb, and drug paraphernalia. The trial court suppressed this evidence on the basis that, during the stand-off, Strimple had refused consent for entry into the home.

The Supreme Court held that Thompson validly gave her consent to the second warrantless search. Strimple was not physically present at the time, and the police did not remove him from the scene to avoid his objection to the search. The order was reversed.

2012 CO 2. No. 10SC295. Mumford v. People.
Criminal Law—Criminal Procedure—U.S. Constitution—Fifth Amendment—Miranda Warnings—Custody.

Andrew Mumford challenged his conviction for possession of one gram or less of cocaine, arguing, among other things, that an incriminating statement he made to a law enforcement officer should have been suppressed because it was obtained without proper warnings under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The court of appeals affirmed Mumford’s judgment of conviction, holding that Mumford was not in custody for purposes of Miranda at the time he made the statement.

The Supreme Court affirmed. The Court concluded that under the totality of the circumstances, at the time he made the incriminating statement, a reasonable person in Mumford’s position would not have felt deprived of his or her freedom of action to a degree associated with a formal arrest.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions