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State v. Parkinson

January 6, 1997


Appeal from Superior Court of Snohomish County. Docket No: 95-1-00548-3. Date filed: 07/20/95.

Petition for Review Denied June 3, 1997,

Authored by Ann L. Ellington. Concurring: Ronald E. Cox, Walter E. Webster.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellington

ELLINGTON, J. -- Snohomish County police officers had probable cause to believe that Karen Parkinson and her roommates were selling cocaine from her apartment in Everett. During a valid search, they found only a small amount inside the apartment and on the person of Parkinson's roommate, Terry Knickerberg. Parkinson was not home, but another man who was there, Stan Gilson, claimed that she was selling cocaine from a room at the Everett Holiday Inn. Based upon Gilson's information and independent police investigation, a Judge approved a warrant to search the hotel room, where police found Parkinson with cocaine and another controlled substance.

The trial court suppressed the evidence. We reverse. The telephone affidavit adequately established the basis of Gilson's knowledge and his reliability. Furthermore, his statements were used only to establish probable cause to believe that the contraband would be found at a different location, not to establish probable cause to believe that Parkinson was involved in criminal activity. Independent police investigation corroborated his story. Therefore, the second warrant was based on probable cause, and the evidence is admissible.


On June 29, 1994, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly authorized a warrant to search Karen Parkinson's apartment, based upon the affidavit of Everett Police Officer Cheryl Braley. Braley had learned through a reliable confidential informant that Parkinson, Bob Williams, and a man the informant knew only as Terry were selling cocaine from their apartment on Evergreen Way. Braley then arranged a controlled buy in which the informant successfully bought cocaine from Williams.

The informant said he had seen all three residents of the apartment selling cocaine in the six months or so he had known them, and had witnessed five or six transactions in the previous week. He also had observed materials used to package cocaine inside the apartment. The affidavit made the informant's reliability and basis of knowledge apparent.

When the officers executed the search warrant in the early hours of the morning on June 30, 1994, Parkinson was not home, but her roommate, Terry Knickerberg, and Stan Gilson were. Knickerberg had a small quantity of cocaine on his person. A separate small quantity of cocaine was found elsewhere in the apartment. Officers also found material cut from magazines for packaging cocaine and documents showing that Parkinson lived there.

An officer read Gilson his rights, which he waived. Based upon what he said and independent police investigation, the officers sought telephone approval from Judge Kelly for a warrant to search Parkinson's hotel room.

The telephone affidavit explained that Gilson had been kicked out of his house and Knickerberg had offered him a place to stay. In exchange, Gilson said he drove Knickerberg to the Holiday Inn to pick up some cocaine.

Gilson believed Parkinson was staying at the Holiday Inn and that Knickerberg had picked up cocaine from her, but Gilson did not see Parkinson there himself. He said he then drove Knickerberg to a Motel 6 to drop off "a quart of gram" of cocaine. It is unclear from the transcription of the telephone affidavit whether Gilson actually saw any cocaine, or whether Gilson concluded Knickerberg had picked up and delivered cocaine based only upon what Knickerberg told him. The affidavit, however, indicated that Gilson said he had personal knowledge that Knickerberg was a cocaine runner for Parkinson.

Braley's affidavit went on to state that another officer had seen Knickerberg leave a room at the Motel 6, enter Gilson's car, and ride with Gilson back to Parkinson's apartment shortly before it was searched.

Braley additionally affirmed that immediately after the search warrant was served at Parkinson's apartment, a third officer saw Parkinson's car at the Holiday Inn and confirmed with hotel ...

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