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State v. Mathews

Court of Appeals of Idaho

November 19, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JONATHAN ROSS MATHEWS, Defendant-Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 754

Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. G. Richard Bevan, District Judge.

Order denying motion to suppress evidence, affirmed.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Shawn F. Wilkerson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Daphne J. Huang, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

LANSING, Judge

Jonathan Ross Mathews appeals from his judgment of conviction for trafficking in marijuana, felony, Idaho Code § 37-2732B(a)(1)(B), (D). He argues that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence found in his automobile. He contends that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to extend a traffic stop in order to provide time for a drug dog to arrive on scene. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

The following description of the events is derived from evidence presented at the hearing on Mathews' suppression motion. Officer Aaron Bingham observed Mathews travelling 66 mph in a 60-mph zone on Highway 93. Bingham activated his lights and siren and stopped Mathews at approximately 1:27 p.m. During the stop, Bingham looked for indicia of drug trafficking and asked questions in order to determine whether Mathews was a drug trafficker. He testified that he had learned to look for particular indicia of drug trafficking during two trainings, a week-long training in 2006 or 2007 covering drug interdiction and anti-terrorism, and a later, one-day training covering regional drug interdiction efforts. During one of these sessions, Bingham was trained to look for suspicious travel plans in which a person avoids a known drug interdiction zone. Bingham also learned Interstate 80 between Nevada and Salt Lake City was an "extremely successful drug interdiction" zone.

Bingham first asked Mathews to provide his license, registration, and proof of insurance. The insurance card that Mathews first provided to the officer had expired, and Mathews spent several minutes searching for current proof of insurance. Bingham then inquired whether there were any controlled substances in the car. In response, Mathews took off his sunglasses, made eye contact with the officer, told the officer there were no controlled substances in the car, turned back to a forward-looking position, and put the sunglasses back on his face. The officer later testified that the glasses maneuver was "the strangest thing that's ever occurred to me on a traffic stop, " that it "was a huge change of behavior, " and seemed "planned or staged or practiced."

The officer also asked Mathews where he was going. Mathews stated that he was travelling from Reno, Nevada to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bingham knew the direct route between those two locations is Interstate 80, and the location where Mathews was stopped on Highway 93 was far north of Interstate 80. Mathews did not explain why he was taking a diversion of over one hundred miles but did indicate his route would reconnect with Interstate 80 before he reached Cheyenne. Bingham found this route suspicious because Mathews did not offer any explanation for his diversion and because he believed that Mathews may have been avoiding a known drug interdiction zone.

Additionally, Bingham asked where Mathews had stayed and gambled in Reno. Mathews indicated that he had travelled from Kansas to Reno, stayed at a Shiloh Inn in Reno, and gambled at a gas station and one other place, though he could not recall the name of that other place. Bingham suspected Mathews was being untruthful. He doubted that Mathews would travel to Reno to gamble at a gas station because there ...


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