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United States of America v. Richard Dennis Streck

December 4, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RICHARD DENNIS STRECK, III, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it two motions to suppress filed by defendant Streck. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on December 3, 2012, and took the motions under advisement. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny both motions.

FACTS

On January 19, 2011, Deputy Brandon Stromberg of the Payette County Sheriff's Office was patrolling Interstate 84 near the Oregon/Idaho border. He noticed a vehicle with a cracked windshield -- a traffic violation -- and pulled in behind it. As he did, he saw the vehicle change lanes without signaling properly, another traffic violation. Based on these two violations, he pulled the vehicle over.

The driver was defendant Streck and his passenger was Tami Spring. Deputy Stromberg approached the car from the passenger side and talked with Spring. At the suppression hearing, Deputy Stromberg testified that he observed that Spring was (1) extremely nervous; (2) moving as far away from the door as she could get; (3) fidgeting with her hands; (4) displaying jerky head movements; (5) refusing to look the Deputy in the eye; (6) appearing pale or clammy; and (7) having a pulsating carotid artery.

From these observations, Deputy Stromberg concluded that Spring was under the influence of methamphetamine. At the same time, Deputy Stromberg observed Streck was trying to hurry along the traffic stop and also appeared very nervous. He also concluded that Streck looked like he had used methamphetamine, although not under the influence to the same degree as Spring.

At this point, Deputy Stromberg prolonged the traffic stop to investigate suspected drug use and/or possession. Before running Streck's license and registration through a background check -- the routine business of every traffic stop -- he followed interrogation training by separating the two, and questioning them on topics ranging from their relationship to their destination, to see if their stories matched. The traffic stop had turned into a drug investigation.

About 6 minutes into the stop -- after getting conflicting answers from the two -- Deputy Stromberg called for a drug-sniffing dog and requested the Payette County dispatcher to run a check on the license and registration, and also to run a criminal record check. When the drug dog arrived, it began searching the outside of the vehicle, and alerted near the passenger door. The time that elapsed between the stop of the vehicle and the alert of the drug dog was about 14 minutes.

After the drug dog alerted on the vehicle, Spring told Deputy Stromberg that there Memorandum was marijuana in the vehicle's door. Deputy Stromberg searched the vehicle and found marijuana and methamphetamine in Spring's purse. Additional marijuana, glass pipes, and plastic baggies were also found in the vehicle.

Deputy Stromberg returned to Streck, placed him in handcuffs, and explained that he was not under arrest, but that he was being detaining based on what was found in the vehicle. The following colloquy occurred between the two men:

Stromberg: Before you make any statement, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Streck: Yes sir.

Stromberg: You also have the right to have an attorney present during your questioning. If you cannot afford one, the courts will appoint one for you before any questioning takes place if you wish one. You also have the right to ...


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