The Iowa Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of robbing an Iowa City restaurant, saying his backpack was illegally searched.
Police investigating the robbery of Gumby’s Pizza in December of 2012 were led to an apartment by witness information and tracks found in the snow. They found Gunner Olson in a bedroom where Marvis Jackson was also sleeping. Olson gave police permission to search the room. An officer found a gun and other evidence in a backpack owned by Jackson.
Jackson was convicted of second-degree robbery, but appealed, saying officers didn’t asked who the backpack belonged to before searching it and the search was illegal. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled the ownership of the backpack was ambiguous enough that the officer should have asked who owned it. The ruling concludes the warrantless search of the backpack was unlawful and Jackson should get a new trial.
Three justices disagreed with the majority opinion, led by Bruce Zager, who says the facts and circumstances were not ambiguous and nothing in the record would make the officer reasonably question who owned the backpack.
Here’s the ruling: Backpack ruling PDF