from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Bingham County, Hon. Darren B. Simpson,
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Don Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Appellant. Kim A. Coster argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
Respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.
Garnica Perez Jr. appeals from his judgment of conviction for
felony DUI. He challenges the district court's decision
denying his motion to suppress evidence gathered as a result
of an investigatory stop. Specifically, he argues that the
district court erred in concluding that information provided
by a citizen during a call to dispatch was sufficient to
create the reasonable, articulable suspicion necessary to
justify the stop. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case arises from the district court's denial of
Perez's motion to suppress evidence gathered during an
investigatory stop that led to his conviction for felony DUI.
The basis for the stop was a call made to dispatch by an
identified citizen. During the day that the dispatch call was
made, an Indian Highway Safety Officer, Officer Henry, had
driven through a neighborhood in the Old Fort Hall housing
complex and noticed a white, two-door Mercedes parked on a
street named Wardance Circle. He noted the vehicle because
Mercedes vehicles were rare in that area and he had never
seen a white Mercedes in that neighborhood in his three years
as a highway safety officer.
around 10:30 that evening, a woman who lived on Wardance
Circle called dispatch and described a white Mercedes with a
driver who seemingly "didn't know how to drive it,
'cause it kept trying to go in drive, and then it
couldn't, but like it's a standard or
something." She said that once the driver was able to
get the car moving, it pulled into a driveway and almost hit
the back of a parked car. The driver then drove out of
Wardance circle, "turned east, and went toward the bingo
hall." When asked how long ago the driver had left, the
caller said "[n]ot even five minutes ago." She also
stated that the driver had been slamming on the car's
brakes earlier in the day and "roaring around," and
that the car was recently "roaring its motor, like it
wanted to race."
caller noted that she had seen an officer earlier in the day
and told him that "a native guy" was driving the
car, that he was "driving really recklessly," and
that she was concerned that he might drive up on the sidewalk
and hit neighborhood children.
Henry was dispatched to investigate the call. Officer Henry
testified that he first went to Wardance Circle where he had
seen the white Mercedes earlier in the day and that it was no
longer there. He then drove to the nearby casino, gas
station, trading post, and then to the two main roads looking
for the vehicle. As he was driving on one of the main roads,
he came upon a white, two-door Mercedes traveling in the
opposite direction. He estimated that it took him three to
four minutes after receiving the call from dispatch to arrive
at Wardance Circle and that from there he drove for
"five, ten minutes" before he came upon the white
Mercedes driving on the main road. In total, approximately
ten to fifteen minutes passed between the time of the call to
dispatch and the time that Officer Henry stopped the
Henry stated that he did not observe any violations of the
law or erratic driving while following the vehicle; however,
he only followed it for less than a minute before he
initiated the stop. When he contacted the driver-Perez-he
immediately noticed the smell of alcohol and called an Idaho
State Police officer to investigate for DUI. The ISP officer
administered field sobriety tests and then arrested Perez.
Perez was subsequently charged with felony DUI, driving
without a license, and failing to carry insurance, with a
persistent-violator enhancement to the felony charge.
moved to suppress the evidence resulting from the stop,
arguing that the stop violated his constitutional rights
because Officer Henry did not have reasonable, articulable
suspicion that he had violated any traffic laws. The district
court denied Perez's motion to suppress in a ruling from
the bench. The district court held that the conduct reported
by the caller created reasonable suspicion that the crime of
reckless driving had been committed and the caller's
description of the vehicle provided reasonable suspicion for
Officer Henry to stop the white Mercedes that Perez was
then entered a conditional plea, reserving the right to
appeal the denial of his motion to ...