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Meisler v. State

Supreme Court of Nevada

April 3, 2014

MICHAEL CHARLES MEISLER, Appellant,
v.
THE STATE OF NEVADA, Respondent

Page 931

Appeal from a judgment of conviction, pursuant to a jury verdict, of aggravated stalking. Ninth Judicial District Court, Douglas County; Michael P. Gibbons, Judge.

Affirmed.

Kristine L. Brown, Gardnerville, for Appellant.

Catherine Cortez Masto, Attorney General, Carson City; Mark B. Jackson, District Attorney, and Thomas W. Gregory, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Douglas County, for Respondent.

BEFORE HARDESTY, PARRAGUIRRE and CHERRY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 932

CHERRY, J.:

In this case, we are asked to decide whether law enforcement's efforts to locate appellant Michael Meisler by retrieving his cell phone's Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates from his cell phone service provider constituted an illegal search. We conclude that Meisler's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because law enforcement procured a valid arrest warrant before requesting his phone's GPS coordinates. In addition, we hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Meisler's request to withdraw from self-representation where his request was made with an intent to delay proceedings.

FACTS

Meisler was in a romantic relationship with Janice Tebo. After the relationship ended, Meisler repeatedly sent Tebo emails, text messages, and letters. The communications from Meisler included references to the movie Fatal Attraction, statements that she had made a " fatal decision," allusions to the ancient Greek legend of the Sword of Damocles,[1] and threats to sue her for lying to him. One of the communications stated: " JFK died on this day 48 years ago. Today is also a day u will also not eva forget befitting an Irishpolak lying SLUT. Have a nice day:)." After investigating various reports made by Tebo, the Douglas County Sheriff obtained a warrant for Meisler's arrest. Seeking Meisler's location in order to make the arrest, a sheriff's investigator requested that Meisler's cell phone service provider retrieve his GPS coordinates. The service provider complied, and Meisler was arrested in a public parking lot.

During the arrest, Meisler's cell phone was retrieved from his vehicle at his request. The cell phone was kept with his belongings while he was in custody. A valid search warrant was procured before the contents of the cell phone were searched. The search of the cell phone revealed numerous text messages, some of which were eventually used to support Meisler's conviction.

Meisler was charged by information with aggravated stalking, a felony under NRS 200.575(2). On his request, Meisler was canvassed and found competent to represent himself. The court appointed standby counsel. The district court further denied Meisler's request to suppress text messages retrieved from his cell phone as a result of his arrest. The court held that law enforcement did not need to obtain a warrant before using Meisler's phone GPS coordinates to locate him.

On the day before trial, at 4:23 p.m., Meisler filed a motion to withdraw from self-representation. The court denied the motion after argument on the morning of trial because the motion was ...


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