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State v. Ward

Court of Appeals of Idaho

October 22, 2013

STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Kori Lynn WARD, Defendant-Respondent.

Page 324

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for appellant.

Respondent did not participate in appeal.

GRATTON, Judge.

The State appeals from the district court's order granting Kori Lynn Ward's motion to suppress.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Officers responded to a third-party report that Ward had attempted to commit suicide by slitting her wrists. The two officers approached Ward's residence to determine if paramedics were necessary and to ensure her safety. The paramedics were parked down the street waiting for the officers to notify them it was safe to enter. The officers could hear loud music coming from the residence and they found a spent shotgun shell in the front yard. When one of the officers knocked on the door, Ward answered and opened the screen door outward, which the officer held onto to keep it from closing. Ward appeared emotionally upset and her mannerisms were erratic. Ward confirmed her identity but due to the loud music, the officer asked if she could turn down the music so they could talk. Ward walked to the stereo and pushed a button, but the music continued to play loudly. Instead of returning to the front door, Ward retreated deeper into the residence. The officer holding the door open made several requests for Ward to return to the front door, but she did not respond. Fearing for Ward's safety, the officers entered the residence and guided Ward back to the living room.

The officers had Ward sit on a coffee table and they observed that she was intoxicated and her movements continued to be erratic. Ward mumbled incoherent and unrecognizable sentences and stated no one cared about her and she did not want to be there anymore. Ward's wrists had several scratches, and she had deeper cuts on her forearm that were still bleeding, but did not appear life-threatening. The officers then requested the assistance of the paramedics.

Ward denied drinking or consuming any substances, but beer bottles could be seen throughout the living room. One of the officers did a visual scan of the room for any bottles of prescription medication. The officers feared Ward may have ingested prescription medication in addition to her alcohol consumption. When asked, Ward affirmatively answered that there was a firearm in the residence and she began to get up. One of the officers had her sit back down while the other officer walked to retrieve a shotgun that was in the corner of the room. When the officer leaned over to secure the shotgun, he could see an open box that contained a glass pipe and methamphetamine.

The paramedics briefly attended to Ward, and she was transported to the hospital where she was placed on a mental hold.

Page 325

Ward was subsequently charged with possession of methamphetamine. Ward filed a motion to suppress the evidence found in her residence, which the district court granted. The State timely appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS


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