Federal agents obtained verbal permission from Warwick to look in his trailer for a female fugitive who has an outstanding arrest warrant for a gang-related murder. They found the fugitive in the closet and notice firearms in the closet. During this search, Warwick remained outside with an agent. An agent then notified Warwick that they had discovered firearms in the closet. Warwick stated the firearms were his and offered his opinions about the Second Amendment. An officer ran Warwick’s history and discovered he was a convicted felon. Agents then asked for his written consent to search the trailer. Warwick stated “You’ve already searched anyway. What does it matter?” He then signed the written consent form. Warwick was told he could stop the search at any time.
After Warwick signed the form, several officers searched the home and seized firearms, ammunition, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Warwick was later charged with multiple counts of knowingly possessing firearms and unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Warwick moved to suppress the seized evidence, arguing he did not give oral consent to the first search and his written consent was not voluntary.
The court held that when initially asked if they could search the house, Warwick’s response “go ahead” constituted valid and voluntary consent to search the house for the fugitive. Regarding the second search based upon written consent, the court noted that the form itself clearly notified him of his right to refuse consent. The court further noted the 35-minute length of his detention while they searched was not unreasonable and also rejected his argument that he believed his consent was futile and therefore his consent was voluntary.
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