from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Cynthia K. C. Meyer, District
of conviction for felony introduction of major contraband
into a correctional facility and felony possession of a
controlled substance, affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P.
McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Theodore S. Tollefson,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Marie Horton appeals from her judgment of conviction for
felony introduction of major contraband into a correctional
facility and felony possession of a controlled substance.
Horton argues that the district court erred in denying her
motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, Horton asserts the
district court erred in ruling that an expired registration
from the state of Washington provided reasonable suspicion to
conduct a traffic stop of her vehicle. For the reasons below,
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
midnight in northern Idaho, an officer observed a vehicle
without a front license plate. The vehicle was being driven
by Horton. The officer turned his vehicle around to
investigate whether Horton's vehicle was registered in
Idaho. As the officer did so, Horton's vehicle
accelerated and turned sharply. The vehicle then stopped, at
which point, the officer turned on his front lights and
pulled up behind the parked vehicle. The vehicle was licensed
and registered in Washington; however, the registration was
expired. The officer approached the vehicle and questioned
Horton regarding the expired registration. The officer
observed white foam around Horton's mouth. Horton was
also speaking rapidly, was unable to keep still, and was
repeatedly licking her lips. Once backup had arrived, the
officer informed Horton a K-9 unit had been requested. During
the exchange, Horton stated there was a marijuana pipe behind
her seat. Horton was then placed in handcuffs, and a drug
detection dog was deployed. After the dog's alert, a
subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a glass pipe,
methamphetamine, and a scale with residue.
was then transported to the county jail, during which time,
she admitted to using methamphetamine. The officer asked if
Horton had additional drugs on her person, to which she
responded in the negative. Upon intake at the county jail,
more methamphetamine was found on Horton's person. Horton
was charged with introduction of major contraband into a
correctional facility, Idaho Code § 18-2510(3);
possession of methamphetamine, I.C. § 37-2732(c)(1);
driving under the influence, I.C. § 18-8004(1)(a);
attempted eluding, I.C. § 49-1404(1); and possession of
drug paraphernalia, I.C. § 37-2734A(1).
filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing I.C. §
49-430 does not apply to out-of-state vehicles. The district
court inquired as to whether I.C. § 49-456 was the
appropriate statute. The State argued either statute provided
a proper legal basis for the stop. Ultimately, the district
court ruled that it is Idaho law that "vehicles
operating in Idaho have current registration" and that
officers have "reasonable, articulable suspicion for
conducting a traffic stop when they perceive a vehicle with
expired registration tabs." Because the registration
tabs were expired, the district court found there was
reasonable suspicion and denied the motion to suppress.
entered a guilty plea to felony introduction of major
contraband and felony possession of a controlled substance,
reserving her right to appeal the denial of her motion to
suppress. Horton timely appeals.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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 court. State v.
Valdez-Molina, 127 Idaho 102, 106, 897 P.2d 993, 997
(1995); State v. Schevers, 132 Idaho 786, 789, 979
P.2d 659, 662 (Ct. App. 1999).