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State v. Widner

Court of Appeals of Idaho

December 10, 2013

STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Daniel L. WIDNER, Defendant-Appellant.

Review Denied Feb. 11, 2014.

Page 738

Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, LLP, Boise, for appellant. Deborah A. Whipple argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Lori A. Fleming, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Lori A. Fleming argued.

PERRY, Judge Pro Tem.

Daniel L. Widner appeals fro his judgment of conviction for trafficking in marijuana, felony, Idaho Code § 37-2732B(a)(1)(A), (D), and concealing a dangerous weapon in a motor vehicle, misdemeanor, I.C. § 18-3302(9), (14). Widner argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion in limine that sought to exclude from evidence the 2.25 pounds of marijuana officers found in his car. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

Detective Christopher Jessup had entered into an agreement with a confidential informant who was " working off" a delivery of marijuana charge with the local police. The identity of the confidential informant was known to police but not disclosed at the hearing.[1] As part of their arrangement, Jessup and the confidential informant organized a series of controlled buys where the confidential informant purchased marijuana on behalf of police. The confidential informant

Page 739

identified Widner as a potential investigative target. On October 19, 2010, and on December 14, 2010, the confidential informant purchased marijuana from Widner.

On January 11, 2011, the informant told Jessup that Widner was planning a trip to California in order to purchase marijuana which he would, in turn, sell in Idaho. The informant believed Widner would go on the upcoming weekend or the weekend after. Jessup directed the informant to confirm the information and report back. The informant did not immediately report back. Instead, on January 21, the informant told Jessup that Widner was probably out of marijuana. Jessup asked the informant to attempt to gather additional information. Later, on the same day, the informant contacted Jessup a second time and stated that Widner was still in town, but planned to travel to California. The informant did not specify any particular date.

The informant did not contact Jessup again until Wednesday, January 26. On that day, he informed Jessup that he had not spoken to Widner for " a couple days" but believed that Widner would travel to California that weekend. On Saturday, January 29, the informant once again told Jessup that he had not heard from Widner in a few days, but he believed Widner had left Mountain Home. In response, officers began conducting surveillance of Widner's home. Later that day, the informant called Jessup and stated that Widner was still in Mountain Home, but that he planned to leave early the next morning and would return later that day or the day after, January 31.

On January 30, Jessup attempted to verify the information he had been provided. He drove by Widner's home and observed that both of Widner's vehicles were parked at the home. Jessup called the informant and asked him to confirm that Widner had left, and to determine what car he had taken. At that time, the informant did not have any new information regarding Widner's whereabouts nor did he know what car was being driven. However, later that day, the informant called Jessup and told him that Widner and his roommate, Alex Stewart, had taken Stewart's vehicle to California and had left that morning.

From prior surveillance, Jessup was familiar with Stewart's vehicle. Jessup drove by Widner and Stewart's home and observed that Stewart's vehicle was not at the home, nor was his car at either of Stewart's places of work. After confirming that the vehicle was not in any of its ordinary locations, Jessup and his partner planned to intercept Widner upon his return to Mountain Home. They decided to wait at opposite ends of town and look for the vehicle. They also informed the patrol shift supervisor that they were looking for Stewart's car.

The case was discussed at a " pass-along meeting" where officers from an earlier shift relate information regarding ongoing cases. The patrol shift supervisor instructed Officer Ryan Melanese, among others, to be on the look out for Stewart's car and provided him with the license plate number. At the meeting, Melanese was informed that detectives suspected Stewart's vehicle contained a large amount of marijuana. Accordingly, the shift supervisor told ...


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