Opinion No. 28
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Richard D. Greenwood,
granting motion to suppress, affirmed.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kale D. Gans, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for appellant. Kale D. Gans argued.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Jenny C.
Swinford, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
respondent. Jenny C. Swinford argued.
State appeals from the district court's order granting a
motion to suppress evidence. Specifically, the State argues
that the district court erred in finding that the
investigative detention of Gabbrielle Ramona Aberasturi aka
Powell was unlawfully extended. For the reasons set forth
below, we affirm.
officer observed Aberasturi's vehicle parked near a
dumpster in a private alley behind a commercial building. The
responding officer also observed Aberasturi in the dumpster
and her acquaintance in the vehicle. It is disorderly conduct
and therefore unlawful to loiter, prowl, or wander upon the
private property of another without permission of the owner.
I.C. § 6-01-05(B). The responding officer instructed
Aberasturi to get out of the dumpster and her acquaintance to
exit the vehicle. Less than two minutes later, a second
officer arrived. The responding officer told Aberasturi and
her acquaintance to wait while their information was run
through police dispatch. The responding officer returned to
his vehicle while the second officer stayed with Aberasturi
and her acquaintance.
four minutes after the initial contact was made, a third
officer with a canine arrived and made contact with
Aberasturi. Neither the responding officer nor the second
officer requested the canine officer's assistance. The
canine officer later testified that he requested
Aberasturi's permission to search her vehicle and that
she had consented. The responding officer testified that he
heard Aberasturi give permission to search her vehicle.
Throughout the investigation, only the second officer used an
audio recording device. The responding officer gave
Aberasturi a warning about disorderly conduct, which can be
heard on the second officer's recording. The district
court inferred that the responding officer concluded his
warning when Aberasturi thanked the responding officer. At
some point while the responding officer gave Aberasturi a
warning, the canine officer conducted a canine drug sniff of
Aberasturi's vehicle. The responding officer and canine
officer testified that the canine officer gestured to the
responding officer while he was still warning Aberasturi,
which would indicate that the canine alerted before the
responding officer concluded his warning. The audio recording
reveals that over ten minutes passed between the time
Aberasturi thanked the responding officer and the time that
Aberasturi was called away from the second officer to discuss
the drugs found in the vehicle. The district court found that
the officers' testimonies conflicted with the audio
recording and were not sufficiently reliable to find that the
canine alert occurred before the responding officer concluded
his warning. The district court further found that the
purpose of the investigatory detention for disorderly conduct
was effectuated when Aberasturi thanked the responding
officer for his warning. The district court concluded that
the State failed to meet its burden of establishing that
probable cause to search arose before the purpose of the
initial stop was effectuated. The district court granted
Aberasturi's motion to suppress evidence obtained as a
result of the search. The State appeals.
standard of review of a suppression motion is bifurcated.
When a decision on a motion to suppress is challenged, we
accept the trial court's findings of fact that are
supported by substantial evidence, but we freely review the
application of constitutional principles to the facts as
found. State v. Atkinson, 128 Idaho 559, 561, 916
P.2d 1284, 1286 (Ct. App. 1996). At a suppression hearing,
the power to assess the credibility of witnesses, resolve
factual conflicts, weigh evidence, and draw factual
inferences is vested in the trial court. State v.
Valdez-Molina, 127 Idaho 102, 106, 897 P.2d 993, 997
(1995); State v. Schevers, 132 Idaho 786, 789, 979
P.2d 659, 662 (Ct. App. 1999).
determination of whether an investigative detention is
reasonable requires a dual inquiry--whether the officer's
action was justified at its inception and whether it was
reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which
justified the interference in the first place. State v.
Roe, 140 Idaho 176, 181, 90 P.3d 926, 931 (Ct. App.
2004); State v. Parkinson, 135 Idaho 357, 361, 17
P.3d 301, 305 (Ct. App. 2000). An investigative detention is
permissible if it is based upon specific articulable facts
which justify suspicion that the detained person is, has
been, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity.
State v. Sheldon, 139 Idaho 980, 983, 88 P.3d 1220,
1223 (Ct. App. 2003). Such a detention must be temporary and
last no longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of
the stop. Roe, 140 Idaho at 181, 90 P.3d at 931;
State v. Gutierrez, 137 Idaho 647, 651, 51 P.3d 461,
465 (Ct. App. 2002). Where a person is detained, the scope of
the detention must be carefully tailored to its underlying
justification. Roe, 140 Idaho at 181, 90 P.3d at
931; Parkinson, 135 Idaho at 361, 17 P.3d at 305. In
this regard, we must focus on the intensity of the detention,
as well as its duration. Roe, 140 Idaho at 181, 90
P.3d at 931.
scope of the intrusion permitted will vary to some extent
with the particular facts and circumstances of each case.
Roe, 140 Idaho at 181, 90 P.3d at 931;
Parkinson, 135 Idaho at 361, 17 P.3d at 305. Brief
inquiries not otherwise related to the initial purpose of the
stop do not necessarily violate a detainee's Fourth
Amendment rights. Roe, 140 Idaho at 181, 90 P.3d at
931. It is the State's burden to demonstrate that the
seizure it seeks to justify on the basis of reasonable
suspicion was sufficiently limited in scope and duration to
satisfy the condition of an investigative detention.
Parkinson, 135 Idaho at 361-62, 17 P.3d at 305-06.
This Court will not substitute its view for that of the trier
of fact as to the credibility of the witnesses, the weight to
be given to the testimony, and the reasonable inferences to
be drawn from the evidence. State v. Flowers, 131
Idaho 205, 207, 953 P.2d 645, 647 (Ct. App. 1998).
appeal, the State's assertion that the stop was not
unlawfully extended rests on the proposition that the canine
alert occurred before the responding officer concluded his
warning to Aberasturi. The State argues that the district
court erred when it concluded that the State failed to prove
whether the canine alert happened before the end of the
initial investigation. The State contends the record
demonstrates that the responding officer learned of the
canine alert before the initial investigation was concluded.
Specifically, the State points to the officers'
testimonies that the canine officer indicated to the
responding officer that the canine alerted while the
responding officer was warning Aberasturi. The State further
insists the district court affirmed that the responding
officer became aware of the canine alert during the
responding officer's warning.
the district court acknowledged the responding officer's
testimony that the canine alert happened during the warning,
the district court appears to have questioned that testimony.
Indeed, the district court found that there were enough
discrepancies in the officers' testimonies that the
district court was not confident that all the details were
remembered exactly as they happened or in the order they
occurred. The district court observed that nothing in the
second officer's recording suggested that the responding
officer was aware of the canine alert before the responding
officer concluded his warning to Aberasturi. Because neither
the responding officer nor the canine officer used a
recording device, the officers' testimony was the only
evidence indicating when the canine officer notified the
responding officer of the canine alert. A review of the
record, including the second officer's audio recording,
supports the district court's finding that the State
failed to prove that the canine alert occurred before the
initial stop was concluded. The district court ...