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Padilla v. State

Court of Appeals of Idaho

December 23, 2014

TARANGO DEFOREST PADILLA, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent

2014 Opinion No. 109

Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. Randy J. Stoker, District Judge.

Judgment of the district court denying petition for post-conviction relief, vacated and case remanded.

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

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Jessica M. Lorello argued.

GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge. Judge GRATTON and Judge MELANSON CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 244

GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge

Tarango Deforest Padilla appeals from the district court's judgment denying his amended petition for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Specifically, Padilla contends that defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a motion to suppress. For the reasons that follow, we vacate and remand.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In Twin Falls, a street runs north to south (the Street) and the Street is intersected by an alleyway that runs east to west (the Alley).[1] At approximately 2:30 a.m. in August 2009, a Twin Falls police officer was in his marked police car in the Alley on the western side of the Street, facing the Street with the police car's headlights turned off. The officer was slowly driving his police car through the Alley toward the Street when he saw Padilla walking southbound on the Street, on the side of the Street farthest from the officer. Padilla entered the Alley across the

Page 245

Street from the officer (on the eastern side of the Street), fumbled around, and came out of the Alley and proceeded southbound on the Street. Padilla looked lost but did not appear intoxicated. The officer, who was about 100-150 feet from the western edge of the Street, proceeded to drive his car out of the Alley onto the Street and turned the car's headlights on. According to the officer, Padilla turned, looked toward the officer's car, turned again, and started running. The officer exited the vehicle and yelled for Padilla to stop, but Padilla kept running. Padilla jumped a few fences and the officer lost sight of Padilla. The officer radioed for assistance, and Padilla was eventually located under a tree by a second officer.[2]

A search of the area where Padilla was found revealed ceramic pieces of a spark plug, two financial transaction cards that did not belong to Padilla, and a flashlight. A subsequent warrantless search of Padilla revealed ceramic pieces of a spark plug, controlled substances, and two more financial transaction cards that did not belong to Padilla. After Padilla was arrested and transported to the jail, an officer determined that Padilla had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Padilla was charged with two counts of grand theft in relation to the financial transaction cards and was alleged to be a persistent violator in separate cases that were later consolidated for trial. Padilla was ultimately found guilty of the grand theft counts and was determined to be a persistent violator. He appealed, contending that the district court erred by denying his motion in limine to exclude the spark plug pieces and flashlight; we affirmed in State v. Padilla, Docket Nos. 38899/38900 (Ct. App. Dec. 28. 2012) (unpublished). Padilla then filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief and with the assistance of counsel filed an amended petition for post-conviction relief. Relevant to this appeal, Padilla contended that defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a motion to suppress. Specifically, Padilla argued that defense counsel should have moved to suppress ...


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