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People v. Cooper

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

November 21, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
Lonnie Cooper. Defendant-Appellee 2016 CO 73

         Interlocutory Appeal from the District Court Alamosa County District Court Case No. 15CR304 Honorable Michael Gonzales, Judge

         Order Reversed

          Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant: David Mahonee, District Attorney, Twelfth Judicial District Crista Newmyer-Olsen, Chief Deputy District Attorney Alamosa, Colorado

          Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee: Martinez Law, LLC Esteban A. Martinez Longmont, Colorado

          Henson Law, LLC Patrick R. Henson Denver, Colorado

          OPINION

          RICE, CHIEF JUSTICE

          ¶1 This interlocutory appeal requires us to answer whether an officer can reasonably and in good faith rely on a warrant when the warrant affidavit is devoid of specific dates but establishes a long, ongoing pattern of drug trafficking from a home. We hold that there was enough evidence in the warrant affidavit of an ongoing drug trafficking operation that an officer could have a reasonable, good faith belief that the warrant was proper. We therefore reverse the trial court's suppression order and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶2 On September 29, 2015, police officers in Alamosa County, Colorado applied for and received a warrant to search Lonnie Cooper's residence and vehicles on his property for illegal drugs and other items associated with the sale of illegal drugs.

         ¶3 The warrant application contained the following information:

1. On September 29, 2015, Your Affiant spoke with a confidential informant regarding drug activity at Lonnie Coopers [sic] (5/22/73) residence located at 220 Main Street. This address is in the City and County of Alamosa, State of Colorado.
2. The informant stated that he had purchased both heroin and methamphetamine from Cooper at the above address. The informant states that he has at times purchased up to an ounce of heroin from [C]ooper.
3. The informant states that the narcotics are somewhere within the residence. He states that [C]ooper sends his nephew into a back room, and that his nephew returns approximately a minute later with the agreed amount.
4.The informant states that Cooper carries large quantities in stock, and sells to only a select few trusted people. The informant knows Cooper from his childhood, and states that he ...

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