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State v. Mann

Supreme Court of Idaho

April 28, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JESSE EUGENE MANN, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 37

         Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John T. Mitchell, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Eric Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Jenevieve C. Swinford argued.

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

          HORTON, JUSTICE.

         Jesse Eugene Mann appeals from the judgments of conviction for trafficking marijuana, driving without privileges, and possession of drug paraphernalia which were entered after a jury found him guilty of the charges. Prior to the trial, Mann sought suppression of the evidence related to the marijuana and paraphernalia charges. The district court found that Mann did not have standing[1] to challenge the search as the evidence was found in a rental car which he was not authorized to drive. Mann argues that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car because he had permission from the lessee to drive the car. Mann also asserts that the jury instruction regarding the paraphernalia charge was erroneous. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Mann was driving east on I-90 near Coeur d'Alene when he was stopped by Idaho State Police Trooper Josh Clark. Clark stopped Mann for signaling less than the required 5 seconds- 2.63 seconds-before changing lanes. Mann was driving a rental car which had been rented by Ashley Cheney, his "living as married" partner of five years. Mann was not authorized by the rental car company to drive the car. After stopping Mann, Clark approached the vehicle and asked Mann for his driver's license. Mann provided Clark with an Oregon identification card and stated that his driver's license was currently suspended. After confirming that Mann's license was suspended, Clark arrested him for driving without privileges.

         After arresting Mann, Clark placed him in the back seat of his police car in order to transport him to the Kootenai County jail. Clark then conducted a pre-tow inventory search of Mann's vehicle. It is Idaho State Police policy to conduct an inventory search prior to a vehicle being towed. During the search, Clark found a glass pipe with burnt residue in the top, a toffeelike substance, and eight plastic bags containing a green plant-like substance. Clark suspected that the toffee-like substance was a synthetic form of marijuana and that the plant-like substance was marijuana. Clark seized these items as evidence, and they were tested by the Idaho State Police laboratory. The lab technician concluded that the plant-like substance was marijuana and determined that the total weight of the marijuana was 5.38 pounds.

         Mann was charged with trafficking marijuana, driving without privileges, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Prior to trial, Mann filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized during the inventory search. The district court heard the motion on July 22, 2015. After receiving testimony and argument, the district court ruled that Mann did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car. The district court based its ruling on State v. Cutler, 144 Idaho 272, 159 P.3d 909 (Ct. App. 2007). Of the five factors laid out in Cutler, the district court found that Mann was able to meet only one of them and the totality of the circumstances weighed against Mann having a reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car.

         The case then proceeded to a jury trial on August 24-25, 2015. During closing arguments, Mann argued that the State was required to prove that he intended to use the paraphernalia in Idaho. During its deliberations, the jury sent the judge three questions. One of those questions asked whether it mattered if Mann intended to use the paraphernalia in Idaho or elsewhere. Over Mann's objection, the district court responded as follows: "You are instructed that any possession of paraphernalia must occur in Idaho. If you find defendant possessed paraphernalia in Idaho, you must consider whether the defendant intended to use the paraphernalia. It does not matter in which state the defendant formed the intent to use the paraphernalia."

         After receiving the new instruction and further deliberations, the jury found Mann guilty of all three charges. On October 20, 2015, the district court entered three separate judgments. Mann was ordered to serve seven years, with three years fixed, and fined $10, 000 for trafficking in marijuana. He received suspended sentences of 180 days and 365 days, respectively, for driving while suspended and possession of drug paraphernalia. Mann timely appealed from these judgments.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "We review a district court's order granting a motion to suppress evidence using a bifurcated standard of review." State v. Wulff, 157 Idaho 416, 418, 337 P.3d 575, 577 (2014). "This Court accepts the trial court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, but may freely review the trial court's ...


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