from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. Robert C. Naftz, District
court denial of motion to suppress, affirmed.
D. Frederickson, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant. Kimberly A. Coster, Deputy State Appellate Public
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise for
respondent. Jeffery D. Nye, Deputy Attorney General argued.
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
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.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
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.
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.
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.
on the search of the pickup, Mullins was charged with
possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Mullins moved to suppress 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.
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.