2014 Unpublished Opinion No. 374
Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John T. Mitchell, District Judge.
Judgment of conviction for possession of a controlled substance, vacated and case remanded.
Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Justin M. Curtis, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Justin M. Curtis argued.
Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Nicole L. Schafer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Nicole L. Schafer argued.
GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge
Brandon Dean Kingsley appeals from his judgment of conviction entered upon his conditional guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). Specifically, Kingsley argues the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the ordering denying the motion to suppress evidence, vacate Kingsley's judgment of conviction, and remand the case to the district court.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE
In September 2011, four unmarked police vehicles pulled up in front of a probationer's house in Post Falls. Members of the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force accompanied a probation officer in order to assist with a probation search of the probationer's house.
As the vehicles approached the probationer's house, Coeur d'Alene Police Department Detective Todd saw Kingsley, whom the detective did not recognize, but knew was not the probationer. Kingsley was standing next to a slightly raised garage door in the probationer's driveway, talking on a cell phone. At the preliminary hearing and suppression hearing, Detective Todd recalled that he was concerned that Kingsley was a lookout for the probationer. Detective Todd exited the vehicle and showed his badge to Kingsley. Detective Todd then "told [Kingsley] to get off the phone" and "asked [Kingsley] to come over to where [the detective] was at . . . ." Kingsley complied, and Detective Todd asked Kingsley if he had any weapons. Kingsley responded that he had "glass" on him, and Detective Todd asked Kingsley if he could take the "glass." Kingsley responded in the affirmative. Detective Todd then asked Kingsley to turn around for a pat-down search, and Kingsley told the detective that the "glass" was in Kingsley's front sweatshirt pocket. Detective Todd reached in the pocket, retrieved a sunglass-type pouch, and found a clear glass pipe inside the pouch that he recognized as drug paraphernalia. After setting the glass pipe aside, Detective Todd continued his pat-down search, and Kingsley volunteered that he had a "bindle" in his front left pocket. Detective Todd then retrieved a small bag containing white crystals, later identified as methamphetamine, from Kingsley's front left pocket.
After the pat-down search, Kingsley was issued a misdemeanor citation, and subsequently, a criminal complaint was filed against Kingsley charging him with possession of a controlled substance. A preliminary hearing resulted in an information being filed. Kingsley filed a motion to suppress the evidence found as a result of the search of Kingsley. Following a hearing on the motion to suppress, the district court issued a memorandum decision and order denying Kingsley's motion. Kingsley then entered a conditional plea of guilty to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), in violation of Idaho Code § 37-2732(c), reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Kingsley appeals.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
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. Sta ...