The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that buying pseudoephedrine is not reason enough for police to believe you might be making meth. The ruling involves a search warrant request filed by a Tama County deputy in 2009 that said suspicious traffic had been reported by neighbors at the homes of Pamela Robbins and Michael Watson in Marshalltown.
It said Watson had a history or making meth, and documented 27 purchases of drugs containing pseudoephedrine — a key ingredient in making meth — at area pharmacies. The application said Robbins had purchased pseudoephedrine 25 times during the same period, and her car was seen at Watson’s home on several of those days.
The judge approved a search warrant for both homes and officers filed several drug charges against Robbins and Watson after discovering several drug-related items in each residence. Robbins appealed, saying there was not probable cause for officers to search her home, as there was nothing linking her or the home to any criminal activity.
The Iowa Court of Appeals sided with Robbins, saying there was no information alleging Robbins purchased more pseudoephedrine than permitted by law, or that she purchased it more often than permitted. The court says the legal purchase of pseudoephedrine, standing alone, does not present sufficient probable cause for the search of Robbins’ home.
The court also said the fact that Robbins’ vehicle was seen at Watson’s residence does not provide any information about criminal activity at Robbins’s home, and there was no information in the search warrant application establishing a connection between Robbins’ residence and any suspected criminal activity.
The court threw out the evidence found in the search of Robbins’ home and sent the case back to district court to address the other issues involving the search of Watson’s home.
by Dar Danielson
August 25, 2010
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