Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Mullins

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 19, 2018

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

          Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. Robert C. Naftz, District Judge.

         District court denial of motion to suppress, affirmed.

          Eric D. Frederickson, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Kimberly A. Coster, Deputy State Appellate Public Defender argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise for respondent. Jeffery D. Nye, Deputy Attorney General argued.

          BURDICK, Chief Justice.

         In an appeal arising out of Bannock County, John Mullins challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress. Mullins and his wife, Tera, were arrested at the federal courthouse in Pocatello after security officers found a vial of methamphetamine in Tera's backpack. The Pocatello police seized the methamphetamine, 65 plastic baggies, and $403 from the backpack. Prior to taking Mullins and Tera to jail, the couple's personal effects, including the backpack, were placed into the Mullinses' pickup that was in the parking lot pursuant to Tera's instruction. A K-9 officer later ran his drug dog around the pickup, and the dog positively alerted to the presence of drugs in the pickup. The police obtained a search warrant for the pickup based on the dog sniff alert as well as the other evidence seized from the backpack. During the search, the police found methamphetamine in the pickup. Mullins moved to suppress the drug evidence found in the pickup claiming the warrant lacked probable cause because the police placed the backpack, which had previously contained methamphetamine, into the pickup. Thus, Mullins contended, the dog would have alerted to the residual odor in the backpack rendering its sniff alert unreliable. The district court denied the motion, stating Mullins had not shown the police deliberately or recklessly omitted information from the affidavit to mislead the magistrate judge, and, that even without the dog sniff, there was sufficient evidence to issue the warrant. Mullins timely appeals, and we affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On March 1, 2016, Mullins and his wife Tera arrived at the federal courthouse in Pocatello, Idaho. When Mullins entered the courthouse he was carrying a backpack and as he approached security he handed it to Tera who placed it into a plastic bin that goes through a security scanner. One item in the backpack, later determined to be a stapler, did not clear the security scan. The security officer operating the scanner asked Tera for permission to look in the backpack and Tera granted him permission. While searching the backpack, the security officer found a small, brownish vial containing a white powdery substance inside as well as 65 small, plastic baggies. The backpack also contained $403 in cash. The security officer radioed for a U.S. Marshall and the U.S. Marshall called the Pocatello police.

         Sergeant Diekemper and Detective Edwards responded. Sergeant Diekemper spoke with Mullins and Tera and asked them about the vial that was found in the backpack. Tera stated the backpack was hers, though both Tera and Mullins confirmed they possessed the backpack coming into the courthouse. However, both denied ownership of the vial. The substance in the vial tested presumptively positive for methamphetamine. Subsequently, both Mullins and Tera were placed under arrest for possession of methamphetamine. The police kept the methamphetamine, baggies, and money in their possession, but asked Tera what she wanted to do with the backpack and the other personal effects that she could not take to jail. Tera asked that the backpack and the other personal effects be put into the Mullinses' pickup, which was in the courthouse parking lot. The police then accompanied Tera to the pickup and put the backpack in the pickup at Tera's direction, and locked the vehicle.

         Based on the baggies and cash that were found with the methamphetamine in the backpack, Sergeant Diekemper and Detective Edwards thought that there may be evidence of drug distribution in the Mullinses' pickup. Sergeant Diekemper contacted Officer Peterson, who had a drug detection dog, and asked him to conduct an exterior sniff of the pickup. Officer Peterson's dog positively alerted during the sniff, indicating there was a possibility of drugs in the pickup. Following the dog sniff, Detective Edwards remained with the pickup while Sergeant Diekemper obtained a search warrant for the pickup. Sergeant Diekemper and Detective Edwards then searched the pickup and found vials of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and $1, 000 in cash.

         Based on the search of the pickup, Mullins was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Mullins moved to suppress[1] the evidence found in the pickup, challenging the evidence upon which the warrant was based. Mullins contended that the police had not described the "personal effects" put into the pickup prior to the dog sniff, so the magistrate judge who issued the warrant could not have known the backpack that had previously contained methamphetamine was put back into the pickup before the sniff. Mullins also argued the dog sniff did not provide probable cause because the police placed the backpack into the pickup, knowing it had methamphetamine residue in it, and the dog would alert to it. When asked at the suppression hearing if the drug dog could detect residual odors Officer Peterson stated, "[h]e can. It's not even a question. He can." Based on this, Mullins contended there would not have been probable cause for the warrant if either the "personal effects" had been described to include the backpack, or if the sniff was excluded from the probable cause determination.

         The district court denied Mullins's motion to suppress stating there was no evidence the police had intentionally or recklessly omitted information from the warrant in an attempt to mislead the magistrate judge, nor was there any evidence the police placed the backpack in the pickup to make sure the dog would alert on it. The court noted it was Tera who asked that the backpack be placed in the pickup. The court also concluded that even excluding the information Mullins was challenging, there was still sufficient information for the magistrate judge to conclude there was probable cause to issue the warrant. Mullins subsequently entered a conditional plea of guilty to an amended charge of possession of a controlled substance, retaining his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. The district court withheld judgment and sentenced Mullins to four years of probation. Mullins timely appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.