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State v. Kapelle

Court of Appeals of Idaho

May 7, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GEORGE ALAN KAPELLE, Defendant-Appellant.

2014 Opinion No. 39

Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonner County. Hon. Benjamin R. Simpson, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction for manufacturing in marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm, affirmed.

Fred R. Palmer, Sandpoint, for appellant.

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

MELANSON, Judge

George Alan Kapelle appeals from his judgment of conviction for manufacturing marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm. Specifically, he argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In July 2011, officers received a confidential tip that a wanted felon was hiding in an abandoned trailer on Artisan Way in Bonner County. Officers went to the area described in the tip and discovered a single-wide trailer in a remote area. The trailer appeared abandoned. The officers parked near the bottom of the driveway leading to the trailer and proceeded on foot with their guns drawn. The officers were dressed in plain clothes and had their badges hanging visibly on their chests. The officers did not observe any no-trespassing signs, although Kapelle later provided evidence one existed at the bottom of his driveway along with a makeshift gate he occasionally used to block his driveway. As the officers neared the trailer, they could hear loud music and voices coming from within. One of the officers walked around to the rear in order to prevent any escape from a back window.

Kapelle, engaged in a "virtual party"[1] online, observed the officer in his backyard and came out his front door to investigate. The officer in front of the trailer informed Kapelle they were with the sheriff's office and inquired whether the wanted suspect was there. The officer in the rear overheard the conversation and walked to the front of the trailer. Kapelle informed both officers that he knew the suspect and that he did not allow the suspect at his trailer anymore because of an incident where the suspect pointed a gun at Kapelle. One officer then informed Kapelle they could not leave until they knew if the suspect was in the trailer. The officers asserted they asked permission to come inside and Kapelle agreed.[2] Once inside, the officers immediately smelled the odor of raw marijuana. Kapelle asked the officers to leave and they refused. Kapelle eventually signed a consent form to search the trailer. The officers seized thirty-seven marijuana plants, scales, and other accessories. The officers also observed a firearm inside the trailer. The next day, officers discovered Kapelle had been previously convicted of a felony in California.

The state charged Kapelle with trafficking in marijuana, I.C. § 37-2732B(a)(1), and unlawful possession of a firearm, I.C. § 18-3316. Kapelle moved to compel the state to reveal the identity of the confidential informant. Kapelle also moved to suppress the evidence seized from his trailer. The district court denied both motions. Kapelle entered a conditional guilty plea to an amended charge of manufacturing a controlled substance, I.C. § 37-2732(a), and unlawful possession of a firearm. Kapelle also reserved his right to challenge the pretrial rulings. The district court imposed a unified sentence of five years, with a minimum period of confinement of two years, and placed Kapelle on probation. Kapelle appeals.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW


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