Opinion No. 48
from the District Court of the Second Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Nez Perce County. Hon. Jay P. Gaskill,
granting motion to suppress, reversed and case remanded.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Russell J. Spencer,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for appellant. Russell J.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Reed P.
Anderson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
respondent. Reed P. Anderson argued.
State of Idaho appeals from the district court's order
granting Larry Glenn Fenton Jr.'s motion to suppress,
arguing that the district court erred by failing to correctly
apply the doctrine of attenuation to the specific facts of
this case. For the reasons set forth below we reverse and
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
April 20, 2015, Fenton signed a probation agreement. The
second clause of this agreement states, "During any
contact with law enforcement personnel the defendant shall
provide his identity, notify the law enforcement officer(s)
that he is under supervision and provide the name of his
supervising [probation officer]." The eleventh clause
further provides that Fenton "shall consent to the
search of his person, residence, vehicle, personal property
and other real property" by his probation officer or
other law enforcement officer, waiving his Fourth Amendment
rights as applied to these searches.
February 28, 2016, Fenton was driving a vehicle that was seen
leaving a parking lot known for drug activity. The police
officer following Fenton called in his license plate as
"Idaho plate 180728, " which did not yield any
results because dispatch ran the number with the incorrect
county designation. Because the officer was about 100 yards
away from the vehicle, he asked dispatch to run the plate as
18072B, believing that perhaps he was misreading a B as an 8.
This also yielded no results. After catching up with the
vehicle, the officer provided the correct county designation.
The officer did not receive a response to this third attempt
at running the plates until after he had already completed
the traffic stop.
the officer initiated the stop in order to address concerns
regarding the registration, he concluded the stop by issuing
two citations to Fenton. The first was for lack of a
driver's license, and the second was for lack of proof of
insurance. After the officer handed Fenton one of the
citations, Fenton volunteered that he was on probation. The
officer asked Fenton who his probation officer was, to which
Fenton responded with a name that alerted the officer that
Fenton was on felony probation. The officer returned to his
patrol car and, following standard procedure, called the
probation officer, relaying to the probation officer the
facts leading up to the stop and the subsequent citations.
Upon returning to Fenton's vehicle, the officer gave
Fenton the second citation, thus concluding the traffic stop.
The officer then informed Fenton that the probation officer
was coming to speak with Fenton and that the probation
officer wanted Fenton to stand by. When the probation officer
arrived, she had Fenton step out of the vehicle and sit on
the sidewalk. The probation officer then requested the
officer's assistance in conducting a search of the
vehicle. The officer found methamphetamine in the vehicle.
State charged Fenton with trafficking in methamphetamine.
Fenton moved to suppress the evidence acquired during the
probation search, claiming that both his traffic stop and
probation search were unlawful. The district court held a
hearing on the suppression motion and then granted
Fenton's suppression motion on the ground that the
officer lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic
stop. The State moved for reconsideration based on the
doctrine of attenuation. The district court ...