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State v. Harper

Court of Appeals of Idaho

February 26, 2018

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAVID JOHN HARPER, Defendant-Appellant.

         2018 Opinion No. 8

         Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District Judge.

         Order denying motion to suppress, affirmed; judgment and commitment, affirmed.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Ted S. Tollefson, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

          HUSKEY, Judge.

         David John Harper appeals from the district court's judgment and commitment. He argues the district court erred when it denied his motion to suppress. The order denying motion to suppress and judgment and commitment of the district court are affirmed.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         An officer observed Harper driving his vehicle on the freeway about one and one-half car lengths behind another vehicle at a speed of approximately 65 mph. The officer stopped Harper's vehicle for following too closely, in violation of Idaho Code § 49-638(1). Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer smelled the odor of marijuana and noticed two large, gift-wrapped boxes in the back seat of the vehicle. The officer deployed his drug detection canine, who alerted to the odor of drugs on the exterior of the vehicle and to the boxes in the interior of the vehicle. The officer searched Harper's vehicle and opened the boxes. Inside the boxes were freezer-style packages of what appeared to be marijuana. Together, the packages contained 17.38 pounds of marijuana.

         Harper was charged with trafficking in marijuana. He filed a motion to suppress the marijuana, arguing the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop because I.C. § 49-638(1) is unconstitutionally vague. The district court denied Harper's motion to suppress, holding the officer had reasonable suspicion to effectuate the traffic stop and I.C. § 49-638(1) is not unconstitutionally vague. At trial, Harper was found guilty of trafficking in marijuana, in violation of I.C. § 37-2732B(a)(1). The district court imposed a determinate, three-year sentence. Harper timely appeals.

         II.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The 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 ...


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