Opinion No. 94
from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District Judge.
district court order denying the motion to suppress is
reversed and the case is remanded for proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant. Maya P. Waldron argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Jessica M. Lorello, argued.
Elliot Cohagan appeals the Canyon County district court's
denial of his motion to suppress. Following the denial of his
motion, Cohagan entered a conditional guilty plea to
possession of methamphetamine. The appeal was originally
assigned to the Idaho Court of Appeals, which reversed the
district court. This Court granted the State's timely
petition for review. We reverse the district court's
order denying Cohagan's motion to suppress.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 26, 2014, Officers Curtis and Otto observed Matthew
Elliot Cohagan on the southwest corner of 12th Avenue South
and 7th Street South in Nampa, Idaho. As they drove by,
Officer Curtis thought Cohagan resembled an individual who
had an outstanding arrest warrant. Officers Curtis and Otto
turned their vehicle around to get a better look at Cohagan.
However, by the time they drove back through the
intersection, Cohagan had entered a grocery store located on
the same corner.
officers entered the grocery store and Officer Otto, without
Officer Curtis present, made contact with Cohagan. Officer
Otto requested Cohagan's driver's license, and
Cohagan complied. After inspecting Cohagan's license,
Officer Otto determined that Cohagan was not the individual
Officer Curtis suspected had an outstanding arrest warrant.
Both officers then left the store.
leaving the parking lot, however, the officers received a
radio request to go back into the grocery store and retrieve
surveillance video for an unrelated incident. While Officer
Otto went to obtain the requested video, Officer Curtis
decided he wanted to confirm Officer Otto's
identification of Cohagan. Officer Curtis stated that he felt
Cohagan might have given Officer Otto false identification
and, because Officer Otto was new to the force, Officer
Curtis wanted to confirm that Cohagan was not the person he
suspected had an outstanding arrest warrant. Officer Curtis
found Cohagan shopping in one of the aisles. Officer Curtis
testified that as he approached Cohagan he recognized that
Cohagan was not the individual he suspected. However, Officer
Curtis decided he still wanted to ask Cohagan his name and
look at his identification.
Curtis activated his lapel camera and made contact with
Cohagan. The video shows that Officer Curtis asked if he
could see Cohagan's identification. Cohagan replied
"absolutely man" and handed his identification to
Officer Curtis. Officer Curtis then took Cohagan's
identification, told Cohagan that he resembled another man
they were looking for, and asked Cohagan if he had any
outstanding warrants. Cohagan stated that he did not. Officer
Curtis replied that he was going to check to see if Cohagan
had any warrants and radioed dispatch to run a warrant check.
Officer Curtis waited for dispatch to respond to the warrant
check, Cohagan asked if he could continue shopping. Officer
Curtis told Cohagan that he could, and Cohagan began walking
away. Seconds later, however, Officer Curtis appeared to
receive notice from dispatch that Cohagan might have a
warrant and stated, "Hey, come here, they're telling
me you might have a warrant. I don't want you running
around the store here." Officer Curtis then quickly
caught up to Cohagan, put his hand on Cohagan's shoulder,
and told Cohagan to walk to the front of the store. On the
way to the front of the store, Officer Curtis and Cohagan
were joined by Officer Otto, and the three of them then stood
at the front of the store and waited until the warrants were
confirmed. Once the warrants were confirmed, Cohagan was
escorted out of the store and arrested. During the search
incident to arrest, officers discovered a yellow box
containing a glass-smoking device with white crystal residue
that tested positive for methamphetamine.
was charged with possession of methamphetamine. He promptly
filed a motion to suppress all evidence seized as a result of
his arrest. The State conceded that Cohagan was illegally
seized when Officer Curtis retained his license to run a
warrant check, but argued that suppression was unwarranted
because the discovery of methamphetamine was sufficiently
attenuated from the illegal seizure. The district court
denied Cohagan's motion to suppress because it found that
the discovery of the outstanding warrant was an intervening
circumstance that sufficiently purged the discovery of the
methamphetamine from the taint of the illegal seizure.
the denial of his motion, Cohagan entered a conditional
guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine, reserving his
right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. The
Court of Appeals reversed. We granted the State's timely
petition for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
"In cases that come before this Court on a petition for
review of a Court of Appeals decision, this Court gives
serious consideration to the views of the Court of Appeals,
but directly reviews the decision of the lower court."
State v. Oliver, 144 Idaho 722, 724, 170 P.3d 387,
389 (2007). "This Court thus acts as if the case were on
direct appeal from the district court." State v.
James, 148 Idaho 574, 576, 225 P.3d 1169, 1171 (2010).
"In reviewing a district court order granting or denying
a motion to suppress evidence, the standard of review is
bifurcated." Id. (quoting State v.
Purdum, 147 Idaho 206, 207, 207 P.3d 182, 183 (2009)).
"This Court will accept the trial court's findings
of fact unless they are clearly erroneous." Id.
"However, this Court may freely review the trial
court's application of constitutional principles in light
of the facts found." Id.
State v. Garcia-Rodriguez, No. 44443, 2017 WL
2569786, at *2 (Idaho June 14, 2017).
asserts the district court erred in denying his suppression
motion. Specifically, Cohagan argues that the evidence seized
when he was arrested should have been suppressed because it
was "the direct result of the illegal detention because
Officer Curtis detained [him] so that he could run a warrant
Whether the district court erred in denying Cohagan's
suppression motion under the Fourth Amendment.
Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects
"[t]he right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures." U.S. Const. amend IV. It has been
incorporated through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to apply to the states.
Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 654-55
(1961). Evidence obtained in
violation of the Fourth Amendment is subject to the
exclusionary rule, which requires unlawfully seized evidence
to be excluded from trial. E.g., Wong Sun v.
United States, 371 U.S. 471, 485 (1963); State v.
Page, 140 Idaho 841, 846, 103 P.3d 454, 459 (2004). The
exclusionary rule requires the suppression of both
"primary evidence obtained as a direct result of an
illegal search or seizure" and, pertinent here,
"evidence later discovered and found to be derivative of
an illegality, ...