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State of Idaho v. Dale Francis Crooks

December 10, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DALE FRANCIS CROOKS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Lansing L. Haynes, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gutierrez, Judge

2010 Opinion No. 81

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Order denying motion to suppress evidence, affirmed.

Dale Francis Crooks appeals from the judgment of conviction entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. Specifically, he challenges the denial of his motion to suppress evidence. We affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In April 2009, Kootenai County Sheriff's Sergeant Eric Hildebrandt obtained information that Kristopher Eby had sold methamphetamine to a woman named K.K. and had been harassing her regarding money she owed him for drug purchases and attempting to sell her more. Sergeant Hildebrandt learned from K.K. that because Eby was on felony probation, he did not keep methamphetamine at his home, but instead it was held for him by Dale Crooks who would supply the drugs when contacted by Eby.

Sergeant Hildebrandt arranged for K.K. to make a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Eby. She was fitted with a transmitter, given money to buy the drugs, and followed by Sergeant Hildebrandt to Eby's residence. At the home, K.K. purchased methamphetamine from Eby, who had just purchased it from a neighbor. Upon leaving the residence, K.K. turned the drugs over to Sergeant Hildebrandt.

Sergeant Hildebrandt requested that officers secure the premises in anticipation of execution of a search warrant for Eby's house. While waiting for the search warrant to be issued, several officers, including FBI Special Agent Sotka, entered the residence pursuant to Eby's consent to searches as a term of his probation. While three officers entered the front door, Agent Sotka and another officer secured the back door. Agent Sotka heard his fellow officers issue commands to the occupants, indicating to him that there had been contact made with the persons inside. Agent Sotka proceeded to the front of the residence and found three individuals, including Crooks, lying on their stomachs in the front living room. Agent Sotka observed another officer calling for a fourth individual to come out of the back of the residence, and he assisted that officer in handcuffing the fourth individual when he emerged from a back bedroom. The other three occupants were handcuffed and after officers performed a protective sweep of the premises, Agent Sotka performed pat-down searches of at least two of the individuals lying on the floor. Upon frisking Crooks, Agent Sotka felt a hard object in Crooks' pants pocket. He asked Crooks whether the object was anything that could be used to harm the officers and Crooks replied that it was a pipe. Crooks told Agent Sotka that he could remove the pipe from his pocket, which Agent Sotka did.

Tests indicated that the residue in the pipe was methamphetamine, and Crooks was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, Idaho Code § 37-2734A, and possession of a controlled substance, I.C. § 37-2732(c)(1). He filed a motion to suppress the pipe, contending that the frisk was unreasonable because Agent Sotka did not have the requisite suspicion that Crooks was armed and dangerous in order to justify the frisk. The district court denied the motion, and a jury found Crooks guilty as charged. Crooks now appeals the denial of his motion to suppress.

II.

ANALYSIS

Crooks asserts that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress on grounds that the officer's frisk violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches because the officer did not have ...


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