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State v. Friedrich

Court of Appeals of Idaho

May 21, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
TORREY LEE FRIEDRICH, Defendant-Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 498

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Deborah A. Bail, District Judge.

Judgments of conviction and sentences for felony driving under the influence and grand theft.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Brian R. Dickson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Nicole L. Schafer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

MELANSON, Judge

Torrey Lee Friedrich appeals from his judgments of conviction and sentences for felony driving under the influence (DUI) and grand theft. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

On December 1, 2010, Friedrich was detained and arrested in his driveway. Friedrich was charged with felony DUI. I.C. §§ 18-8004, 18-8005(6). Friedrich filed a motion to suppress evidence, which the district court denied. As the DUI case (Docket No. 39462) was proceeding, Friedrich was charged with grand theft by possession of stolen property (Docket No. 39463). I.C. §§ 18-2403(4), 18-2407(1). Pursuant to a plea agreement, Friedrich entered guilty pleas to felony DUI and grand theft and additional charges were dismissed. The district court sentenced Friedrich to concurrent unified terms of ten years, with minimum periods of confinement of three years. Friedrich appeals, challenging the district court's denial of his motion to suppress in the DUI case and asserting the district court imposed excessive sentences in both cases.

II. ANALYSIS A. Motion to Suppress

Friedrich argues that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress in the DUI case. Specifically, Friedrich asserts the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the warrantless detention of Friedrich and, therefore, violated his rights under both the Idaho and United States Constitutions.

The standard of review of a suppression motion is bifurcated. When a decision on a motion to suppress is challenged, we accept the trial court's findings of fact that are supported by substantial evidence, but we freely review the application of constitutional principles to the facts as found. State v. Atkinson, 128 Idaho 559, 561, 916 P.2d 1284, 1286 (Ct. App. 1996). At a suppression hearing, the power to assess the credibility of witnesses, resolve factual conflicts, weigh evidence, and draw factual inferences is vested in the trial court. State v. Valdez-Molina, 127 Idaho 102, 106, 897 P.2d 993, 997 (1995); State v. Schevers, 132 Idaho 786, 789, 979 P.2d 659, 662 (Ct. App. 1999). Although Friedrich contends both constitutions were violated, he provides no reason why Article I, Section 17 of the Idaho Constitution should be applied differently than the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution in this case. Therefore, we will rely on judicial interpretation of the Fourth Amendment in our analysis of Friedrich's claims. See State v. Schaffer, 133 Idaho 126, 130, 982 P.2d 961, 965 (Ct. App. 1999). The Fourth Amendment safeguards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. When the purpose of a detention is to investigate a possible traffic offense or other crime, it must be based upon reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity. State v. Gutierrez, 137 Idaho 647, 650, 51 P.3d 461, 464 (Ct. App. 2002). Reasonable suspicion requires less than probable cause but more than speculation or instinct on the part of the officer. State v. McCarthy, 133 Idaho 119, 124, 982 P.2d 954, 959 (Ct. App. 1999). The reasonableness of the suspicion must be evaluated upon the totality of the circumstances at the time of the stop, and the whole picture must yield a particularized and objective basis for suspecting that the individual being stopped is or has been engaged in wrongdoing. State v. Stevens, 139 Idaho 670, 672, 84 P.3d 1038, 1040 (Ct. App. 2004); State v. Sevy, 129 Idaho 613, 615, 930 P.2d 1358, 1360 (Ct. App. 1997). An officer may draw reasonable inferences from the facts in his or her possession, and those inferences may be drawn from the officer's experience and law enforcement training. State v. Roe, 140 Idaho 176, 180, 90 P.3d 926, 930 (Ct. App. 2004).

In this case, the officer who detained and arrested Friedrich testified at the hearing on Friedrich's motion to suppress. The officer explained that, about a week prior to making the arrest, he and another officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a vehicle. Because of slick and snowy road conditions, it took the officers some time to turn the patrol car around. By the time the officers caught up to the vehicle they wanted to stop, the vehicle had turned into a subdivision and the driver had parked and departed on foot. The officer testified that he and the other officer followed footprints in the snow for about an hour but were unable to locate the driver of the vehicle. The officer stated that it was discovered the vehicle was registered to Friedrich and a driver's license status check revealed Friedrich's license was suspended. The officer testified that, some time later, he was informed at a unit briefing that a sergeant had a discussion with Friedrich about the suspended license. The sergeant explained that Friedrich informed the sergeant during that discussion that Friedrich was the person who had been driving the vehicle the night the officers attempted to conduct the traffic stop. The sergeant provided Friedrich's address. The officer explained that, thereafter, on December 1, 2010, the officer drove by Friedrich's residence to see if his vehicle was there. Because Friedrich's vehicle was not there, the officer decided to park down the road to watch and see if Friedrich would return. The officer testified as follows:

[COUNSEL] And did you at any point notice any vehicles that caught your attention after you set up to try ...

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