Opinion No. 73
Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District
of the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Christopher S.
Nye, District Judge.
judgment of conviction is affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise,
attorney for appellant. Andrea Reynolds argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, attorney
for respondent. John C. McKinney argued.
Nature of the Case
William Wass ("Wass") appeals from the judgment
entered upon his conditional guilty plea to possession of a
controlled substance (methamphetamine). He asserts on appeal
that the district court erred when it denied his motion to
suppress his admission to the arresting officer that he was
in possession of syringes.
Factual and Procedural Background
approximately 12:37 A.M. on August 9, 2015, Officer Dan Drake
("Officer Drake") of the Canyon County
Sheriff's Office was patrolling the Sportsman's
access on 21319 Midland Boulevard. He observed a purple
Hyundai Elantra in the parking area, which is closed during
the night. Officer Drake approached the vehicle. Grace
Stanbery ("Stanbery") was sitting in the passenger
seat. Wass was standing behind the vehicle. Officer Drake
spoke briefly to Wass, who admitted that he and Stanbery had
been drinking two hours prior. Officer Drake asked both
parties for identification. Stanbery provided an Idaho
driver's license. Wass gave Officer Drake his name, but
claimed that he did not have any identification on him.
Officer Drake asked Wass if there was anything illegal in the
vehicle. Wass answered that there was not. Officer Drake
asked Wass and Stanbery for permission to search the vehicle.
Both refused. Officer Drake then returned to his vehicle to
enter the identifying information he had been given into his
mobile computer. The mobile computer alerted Officer Drake
that Wass had two active outstanding warrants. Officer Drake
reapproached the vehicle and administered a field sobriety
test on Wass. During the field sobriety test, Wass placed his
wallet on the hood of the vehicle. Wass then admitted that he
had identification in his wallet and that he had lied to
Officer Drake because he was concerned that there might be an
outstanding warrant. Officer Drake informed Wass that there
were actually two outstanding warrants and placed him in
wrist restraints. Officer Drake again asked Wass if there was
anything illegal in Wass' vehicle. This time Wass
admitted that there were syringes in the vehicle. At the time
of this admission, Wass had not been informed of his
Miranda rights. Officer Drake later testified that
he immediately realized at that time that he had made "a
Wass told him that there were syringes in the vehicle,
Officer Drake placed Wass in his police vehicle. Officer
Drake approached Wass' vehicle but did not enter it. He
visually inspected the vehicle but was unable to see anything
illegal. After approximately two minutes, Officer Drake
returned to his police vehicle. Officer Drake informed Wass
of his Miranda rights. Wass affirmed that he
understood his rights. Officer Drake then asked Wass if, with
those rights in mind, Wass still wanted to tell him about
anything illegal in Wass' vehicle. Wass again stated that
there were syringes in the vehicle. Officer Drake searched
Wass' vehicle where he recovered a black spoon with white
residue, three syringes, a cotton arm sleeve, two small
pieces of cotton, and an aluminum foil bindle containing
marijuana. One of the syringes was loaded with a white clear
liquid. The syringe containing the clear liquid tested
positive for methamphetamine.
August 20, 2015, the State filed an Information alleging
felony Possession of Methamphetamine. On October 5, 2015,
Wass filed a motion to suppress the statements he made to
Officer Drake with respect to the presence of syringes in his
vehicle and any physical evidence recovered as a result of
those statements. Wass argued that he was not informed of his
Miranda rights prior to being questioned.
hearing on October 22, 2015, the district court denied the
motion to suppress. It held as follows:
[T]he question is whether the drug evidence must be
suppressed because the first -- because of the first unwarned
statements about the syringes or does the second statements
after the - - does the Miranda ...