United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. NYE CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Christopher Gage's Motion
to Suppress. Dkt. 22. The Government responded to Gage's
motion (Dkt. 24), but Gage did not reply. The Court held oral
argument on September 4, 2019, and took the matter under
reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Gage's Motion.
2, 2018, law enforcement officers were dispatched to a house
near highway 95 in Worley, Idaho, to apprehend Edward
Fasthorse, who had an outstanding arrest warrant. Residents
of the house explained that Fasthorse was not there, but had
fled on foot. Officer Jason Robinson-along with other
officers-looked for Fasthorse in a field near the residence.
After Fasthorse was located and arrested, Officer Robinson
began walking back to his patrol vehicle. A group of
individuals were standing near a vehicle parked outside the
residence near what has been described as a carport or shed.
Officer Robinson noticed Donnovan George-a person he had
contacted in the past and knew to be involved in the use and
sale of drugs-standing near the vehicle. Officer Robinson
also saw drug paraphernalia (including aluminum foil pieces
and butane torches) scattered on the ground around the
vehicle. Officer Robinson approached the individuals.
determining George was the owner of the vehicle by running it
through dispatch, Officer Robinson asked George for consent
to search the vehicle. George consented to the search.
began his search of the vehicle, Officer Robinson observed a
black backpackon the front passenger seat, with open
pockets. A small butane torch was visible in the backpack.
Also visible was a container filled with a brown liquid,
which Officer Robinson believed was consistent with drugs in
a liquid form.
searching the backpack, Officer Robinson asked the group
standing around the vehicle who owned the backpack.
Christopher Gage spoke up, but denied ownership, claiming
instead that he found the backpack in a dumpster. Officer
Robinson asked which dumpster, and Gage claimed he took the
backpack from a dumpster at the Sun Up Bay dumpsite. Officer
Robinson explained-and Gage then acknowledged-that it was
illegal to remove items from dumpsters at the Sun Up Bay
the backpack, Officer Robinson discovered:
1. A black case with a spoon, a clear bag with crystal
substance, a used syringe, a syringe with black liquid, and
bag of unused syringes;
2. Two pairs of female toddler underwear;
3. A black Verizon tablet computer (later determined to
contain child pornography upon examination by a forensic
4. A Samsung Galaxy cell phone (later determined to contain
animated pictures of a young female child engaged in sexual
5. A bathroom supply bag with bathroom supplies and small
plastic baggies containing crystal residue; and
6. A metal notebook bearing the Defendant's first
initials and last name (“C.M. Gage”) on its side.
asks the Court to suppress all evidence seized as a result of
Officer Robinson's search of the car and backpack.
Fourth Amendment prohibits ‘unreasonable searches and
seizures' by the Government, and its protections extend
to brief investigatory stops of persons or vehicles that fall
short of traditional arrest.” United States v.
Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273 (2002). “[T]here is
‘no ready test for determining reasonableness other
than by balancing the need to search (or seize) against the
invasion which the search (or seizure) entails.'”
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21 (1968).
“searches and seizures conducted outside the judicial
process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are
per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment-subject only
to a few specifically established and well delineated
exceptions.” Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S.
366, 372 (1993). Importantly, “a search conducted
pursuant to a ...