N.D. Supreme Court denies Grand Forks Central student's appeal
A student at Grand Forks Central High School busted on drug charges a year ago has had his appeal to the State Supreme Court denied. In an opinion released Tuesday, the court affirmed the judgment of Northeast Central Judicial District Court Judg...
A student at Grand Forks Central High School busted on drug charges a year ago has had his appeal to the State Supreme Court denied.
In an opinion released Tuesday, the court affirmed the judgment of Northeast Central Judicial District Court Judge Joel Medd, who ruled that the search and probable cause to search Christian Antonio Alaniz Jr. were reasonable and constitutional.
To read the opinion, go to www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20110259.htm .
On Feb. 17, 2011, a school security guard noticed Alaniz and another student acting suspiciously near a town square and, when he approached them, tried to evade him, according to the opinion.
The guard said he smelled a "funny" odor where the students had been. Suspecting the students were involved in drug activity, the guard alerted Troy Vanyo, a school-resource officer with the Grand Forks Police Department.
Vanyo identified the students and, later that day, told an associate principal, who questioned Alaniz with the officer present.
Vanyo told Alaniz "If you have anything on you, you need to lay it on the table now."
Court documents said Alaniz, who was 18 at the time, emptied his pockets, revealing synthetic marijuana and a glass pipe.
In district court, Alaniz filed a motion to suppress, arguing there was no probable cause to justify the search, and that the exception to warrantless searches that school officials enjoy on school property did not apply in the case.
Alaniz eventually entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving the right to appeal his motion.
In district court, Medd ruled that Vanyo, a full-time school-resource officer paid for by the school district, was more like a school official.
The Supreme Court agreed, and said that Vanyo did not lead the investigation, leaving it to school officials. Vanyo only told Alaniz to take whatever he had out of his pockets.