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State v. Morris

Court of Appeals of Idaho

February 18, 2015

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RICHARD GLENN MORRIS, Defendant-Appellant

Page 408

2015 Opinion No. 9

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Melissa Moody, District Judge.

Ellsworth, Kallas & DeFranco PLLC; John C. DeFranco, Boise, for appellant.

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

Chief Judge MELANSON and Judge LANSING, CONCUR.

OPINION

GUTIERREZ, Judge

Page 409

Richard Glenn Morris appeals from his judgment of conviction after a jury found him guilty of possession of marijuana. On appeal, Morris raises two issues concerning the denial of his motion to suppress. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

A patrol officer with the Boise Police Department was on duty one night in 2012 and was driving on a residential street a few car lengths behind a vehicle driven by Morris. At some point, Morris' vehicle was in a lane with a yellow line on the left and a solid white line on the right; abutting the lane on the right was either a street parking area or bicycle lane. The patrol officer observed the passenger-side tires on Morris' vehicle move right and completely cross over the solid white line for two or three seconds, such that the left edges of the tires were about three to six inches from the right edge of the solid white line. At the time the vehicle's tires crossed the line, neither the officer nor Morris perceived a circumstance that would have required the vehicle to cross the line. The patrol officer followed Morris, looking for additional traffic violations, but he found none and eventually pulled Morris over. As the patrol officer approached the vehicle, he smelled the odor of marijuana and requested a drug dog. At the vehicle, Morris asked the officer why he was pulled over, and the patrol officer told Morris that it was because Morris' vehicle's tires had crossed over the solid white line.

Subsequently, a canine officer and his drug dog, Turk, responded to the scene, along with a third officer. Turk hit upon a purse that was on the passenger floorboard of Morris' vehicle; a search of the purse revealed nearly one-half pound of marijuana. At some time during the stop, Morris informed the patrol officer that Morris was on probation, and the patrol officer called a probation officer. After Morris and the passenger in his vehicle were arrested, the State charged Morris with felony possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, Idaho Code § 37-2732(a).[1]

Before trial, Morris filed a motion to suppress in the district court, contending that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Morris. The district court conducted a suppression hearing at which the patrol officer, canine officer, probation officer, and Morris testified. In a written decision, the district court denied the motion to suppress, determining that the patrol officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Morris. However, in its written decision, the district court expressed concern with the veracity of the patrol officer's testimony, even though it eventually found him credible. The case proceeded to trial where a jury found Morris ...


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