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State v. Pieper

Court of Appeals of Idaho

March 12, 2018

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
TYSON MICHAEL PIEPER, Defendant-Appellant.

         2018 Opinion No. 13

         Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John T. Mitchell, District Judge.

         Order denying motion to suppress, affirmed.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Sally J. Cooley, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

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

          GRATTON, Chief Judge.

         Tyson Michael Pieper appeals from his conviction for possession of a controlled substance, Idaho Code § 37-2732(c)(1). Pieper asserts that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence of drugs and paraphernalia found in the course of an encounter with police officers. We affirm.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         While on patrol, two Coeur d'Alene police officers noticed two vehicles in a parking lot around 10:30 p.m. The officers observed a blue light inside one of the cars. After parking the patrol car, the officers approached the vehicle with the blue light, one officer on the driver's side and the other officer on the passenger's side. Both officers used flashlights to illuminate the interior of the vehicle.

         The first officer addressed Pieper, who was sitting in the driver's seat, and asked "Can I talk to you guys?" Pieper responded in the affirmative. Within seconds of making contact, the second officer saw a jar appearing to contain marijuana sitting in plain view in the back seat of the car. After being informed about the jar, the first officer instructed Pieper to step out of the vehicle and he was placed in handcuffs. A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the officers finding a gun, paraphernalia, methamphetamine, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

         Pieper subsequently moved to suppress the evidence found during the course of his arrest on the basis that the initial encounter with the officers was not consensual and constituted a warrantless seizure. The district court denied the motion. Thereafter, pursuant to a plea agreement, Pieper pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine and reserved his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. The district court imposed a unified sentence of five years, with one year determinate. Pieper timely appeals.

         II.

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