Opinion No. 134
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District
district court's judgment of conviction is vacated.
Howell & Gunn, PLLC, Boise, for appellant. Randall S.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. Kale D. Gans argued.
a Fourth Amendment suppression case stemming from a search of
a probationer's residence while additional visitors were
present. The probation officers temporarily detained the
visitors while conducting an initial search of the home to
secure the remaining occupant. During this initial search,
the searching officer observed drug paraphernalia in the
garage, and the probation officers further detained the
visitors until an investigative officer arrived. The
investigative officer performed a pat-search on Downing, one
of the visitors, which led to the discovery of drugs on his
person. The officer further questioned him, which led to
admissions of drug use that day. Downing sought to suppress
all evidence obtained against him that day as derived from
both an unlawful seizure and search. The district court
denied his motion to suppress the drugs and admissions to the
investigative officer. The district court's decision was
erroneous. We vacate the judgment of conviction.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
night of October 6, 2015, Ada County Probation and Parole
Officers Hurst and Severson conducted a residence
verification on probationer James Cook. Cook had waived his
Fourth Amendment right to contest a search of his person or
premises as a condition of his probation. Appellant Jason
Downing was at Cook's house at the time of this
verification. The probation officers knocked on the door when
they arrived, and Downing answered the door and allowed the
officers into the house.
probation officers saw Cook apparently hiding behind the
couch in the entry room, and asked both Downing and Cook to
sit on the couch with their hands visible. Either Downing or
Cook informed the parole officers that a third person was
also in the house. Officer Hurst remained in the front room
while Officer Severson secured the house. This initial search
took less than five minutes. During this search, Cook's
behavior spiraled downward and became erratic. Downing stood
up from the couch and started walking in the direction of the
door. Officer Hurst asked him to sit back down with his hands
visible. Officer Severson's search turned up the third
individual in the house, as well as visible drug
paraphernalia in the garage. The officers then called for
assistance from the Boise Police Department, which the
dispatch log showed was entered at 7:49 p.m. Before backup
arrived, and without providing a Miranda warning,
one of the probation officers asked Downing whether he had
been smoking methamphetamine in the garage, and Downing
answered that he had.
Police Officer Holtry arrived on the scene at 8:06 p.m,
seventeen minutes after the dispatch log recorded the
probation officers' call for backup. Officer Holtry
arrived to find Cook handcuffed, and the two other occupants
sitting on the couch. Officer Hurst provided Officer Holtry a
brief update regarding the events leading up to that point.
At the suppression hearing, Officer Holtry testified about
his recollection of the scene upon arriving:
Well, my main concern is being by myself. I didn't know
who was who, who was where, who was doing what. The fact that
I was advised that when they initially knocked on the door,
the one offender had tried to conceal himself behind a couch.
He was trying to hide. I didn't know who anybody was on
the scene or what their involvement was, so just initially is
to just sort of secure things and assign safety assessment,
and make sure everybody's contained in one area and
nobody has any weapons or anything like that on them.
Holtry testified that he asked the probation officers if
anyone had been pat-searched prior to his arrival, and they
told him no. He then read Downing his Miranda
rights, and subsequently performed a pat-search on him.
During Officer Holtry's pat-search of Downing, he did not
find any weapons. However, he did feel an object in his
pocket. Officer Holtry asked Downing what the object was, and
Downing replied that it was methamphetamine. Officer Holtry
removed the object-a small nylon bag containing
methamphetamine-from his pocket. Shortly thereafter, Officer
Holtry questioned Downing about the methamphetamine found in
his pocket and his actions that day. Downing told him they
had smoked methamphetamine, and that he had placed the bag in
his pocket when he went to open the door. He then placed
Downing under arrest for frequenting and possession.
filed a motion to suppress "any and all evidence seized
from the defendant, and statements made by him" that
evening. After a hearing in which Downing, Officer Hurst, and
Officer Holtry testified, the district court granted the
motion to suppress the pre-Miranda statements
Downing made to the probation officers, but denied it as to