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State v. Southwick

Court of Appeals of Idaho

December 3, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
TAMI MARIE SOUTHWICK, Defendant-Appellant

2014 Opinion No. 100

Page 233

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Page 234

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 235

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

Judgment of conviction for possession of methamphetamine, affirmed.

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

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Russell J. Spencer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Russell J. Spencer argued.

MELANSON, Judge. Judge LANSING and Judge GRATTON, CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 236

MELANSON, Judge

Tami Marie Southwick appeals from her judgment of conviction for possession of methamphetamine. Specifically, she argues that there was insufficient evidence to show that she had knowledge and control of the controlled substances hidden in her vehicle and that the district court committed fundamental error by failing to give a unanimity jury instruction. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Southwick was stopped for having an expired vehicle registration. During the initial contact, the officer discovered that the vehicle was registered and insured under another person's name; however, Southwick claimed that the vehicle, which she had obtained a few months prior, was hers and that she had failed to register and insure the vehicle in her name. The officer asked Southwick and her passenger whether there were any drugs or paraphernalia in the vehicle. Southwick gave a quick negative response regarding marijuana, but provided a more drawn-out, negative response regarding methamphetamine. The officer became suspicious and called for a drug dog. After the officer returned to his vehicle, he noticed the passenger making furtive movements from side to side in Southwick's vehicle.

The drug dog arrived while the officer was completing a citation for the expired registration and lack of proof of insurance. The officers had Southwick, her passenger, and their two dogs exit the vehicle. As she was exiting the vehicle, Southwick made the following unsolicited statement: " Because this is not my car, I'm not responsible for anything in the car, correct?" Southwick had, only moments before, stated that she owned the vehicle, which was confirmed with the previous owner. During an exterior sniff of the vehicle, the drug dog positively alerted to the passenger door.

The passenger then asked whether it was illegal to possess scales. The passenger subsequently revealed that a digital scale was located between the front seats. While searching the vehicle, officers discovered the scale inside a black, zippered case wedged between the driver's and passenger's seats. A white powder residue visible on the surface of the scale tested positive for methamphetamine. Additionally, inside the passenger door where the drug dog alerted, officers found a baggie of methamphetamine. Southwick then admitted that she knew the scale was in the vehicle because she was holding it for a friend and had placed it in between the seats to prevent it from sliding around on the dashboard.

Southwick was charged with possession of methamphetamine, I.C. ยง 37-2732(c)(1). She was found guilty by a jury and sentenced by the district court to a unified term of six years, with a minimum ...


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