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State v. Robert W. Skurlock

January 5, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT W. SKURLOCK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bonner County. The Honorable Steven C. Verby, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Jones, Justice.

2011 Opinion No. 2

Boise, November 2010 Term

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The order of the district court is affirmed.

Robert W. Skurlock appeals the district court's order denying his motion to suppress. We affirm.

I.

Factual and Procedural Background

At approximately 6:00 or 6:01 p.m. on February 27, 2009, the Sandpoint Police Department conducted a search of the motel room where Robert W. Skurlock was residing. The search was conducted pursuant to a "daytime" search warrant. Based on evidence obtained during the search, Skurlock was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Skurlock subsequently filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the search was illegal because the warrant was not executed during daytime hours. At the suppression hearing, Skurlock presented evidence that the sun set at 5:28 p.m. on the date the warrant was executed.

While there was conflicting testimony presented at the hearing regarding the precise time the warrant was executed at Skurlock's motel room, the district court specifically found the warrant was executed at 6:00 or 6:01 p.m. The State presented testimony from two members of law enforcement who were present at the motel during the execution of the search warrant. Both officers testified that they had no problem seeing during the execution of the warrant and they could observe other individuals present at the scene without the aid of a flashlight.

In ruling on Skurlock's motion, the district court relied on the Idaho Court of Appeals' decision in State v. Burnside, wherein the court defines "daytime" as the period from "dawn to darkness where darkness is the point at which insufficient natural light exists with which to distinguish another's features." 113 Idaho 65, 69, 741 P.2d 352, 356 (1987). The district court ultimately denied Skurlock's motion, concluding that at the time the search of Skurlock's motel room began, there was sufficient natural daylight with which to clearly identify individuals without the aid of artificial light.

Skurlock subsequently entered a conditional plea of guilty, preserving the right to appeal the district court's denial of his motion to suppress. The district court sentenced Skurlock to a unified sentence of two years, with one year fixed, and retained ...


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