from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Peter G. Barton, District Judge.
court decision denying motion to suppress, reversed, judgment
of conviction vacated, and case remanded for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Frederickson, Idaho State Appellate Public Defender, Boise,
for appellant. Brian Richard Dickson argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. Jeffery D. Nye argued.
BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
Charles Maxim appeals from the district court's denial of
his motion to suppress drug evidence found on his person
after police searched the home he was living in without a
warrant. The district court found that the exclusionary rule
need not apply under the circumstances because the police
would have inevitably discovered the heroin despite any
alleged illegality. The dispositive issues on appeal are
whether a probationer can object to a search of his home or
person when he has waived his Fourth Amendment rights as a
condition of probation and whether the district court erred
in its inevitable-discovery analysis.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
September 27, 2017, Officer Kyle Ludwig and a second police
officer visited an apartment complex in Meridian, Idaho,
after police dispatch had received a call from the apartment
manager. The manager told dispatch that she had heard from a
tenant that there was suspected drug use in an apartment
where children also resided. Upon the officer's arrival
at the complex, the manager flagged down the officers and
explained that she received the information "a day or
two before," but that "strange people" had
been in the apartment that morning.
approaching the apartment, the officers noticed that there
were children's toys on the concrete patio outside the
entrance. Officer Ludwig knocked on the front door and
noticed there was "some give to the door." A second
later, he knocked louder and more forcefully, and by doing
so, pushed the door open. After a few second's pause at
the threshold, Officer Ludwig entered the apartment and
announced himself as police. An unnamed adult female walked
through the first-floor hallway immediately to the left of
entrance, and, upon questioning, informed Officer Ludwig that
she did not live there. Officer Ludwig instructed her to
stand with the second officer on the patio. Upon
investigating the apartment, Officer Ludwig found one of the
doors in the first-floor hallway was locked. He knocked on
the door and, 20 seconds later, Maxim emerged and closed the
door behind him.
Ludwig instructed Maxim to put his hands on his head, and
Maxim complied. Upon being asked whether he had anything
illegal on him, Maxim started patting his pockets and said
"I have a knife" and began to reach in his pocket.
Immediately, Officer Ludwig instructed Maxim to return his
hands to his head and Maxim obeyed. Affixing Maxim's
hands atop Maxim's head with his left hand, Officer
Ludwig led Maxim toward the apartment's entrance. Upon
reaching the entryway, Officer Ludwig asked Maxim where the
knife was located. Maxim said, "It's in my right
pocket," and continued walking towards the front door.
With his right hand, Officer Ludwig began to pat down
Maxim's right pocket (while still affixing Maxim's
hands to his head with his left hand) and Maxim continued
walking. Officer Ludwig ordered Maxim to halt, and Maxim
complied. Still holding his hands above his head, Officer
Ludwig turned out Maxim's pocket with his right hand.
After removing the knife and placing it on a foyer table,
Officer Ludwig reached back and felt through the outturned
pocket and removed a small, multicolored silicon container.
Officer Ludwig would later testify that such containers, in
his professional experience, often contain heroin. Before
opening the container, Officer Ludwig asked Maxim how much
heroin the container held, and Maxim responded "It's
not mine . . . I just picked it up off the table."
Officer Ludwig placed Maxim in handcuffs, and sat him outside
on the patio.
officers searched the apartment, but no children were
present, though children appeared to live there. The door
that Maxim exited was locked, and no response came from
within upon the officer's prompting. About a half hour
after the officers entered the house, one of the children who
lived at the apartment was dropped off by the school bus.
Officer Ludwig placed Maxim in the back of a patrol vehicle,
and, upon further questioning, Maxim revealed that he was on
probation for grand theft and Officer Ludwig had dispatch run
his name through the system. The search revealed that Maxim
had outstanding warrants for failure to appear. Maxim allowed
the officer to call the apartment owner on his cellphone, and
she arrived shortly thereafter. She allowed the officers to
unlock the hallway door with a screwdriver to reveal a
bathroom. A second male was found hiding behind the shower
State charged Maxim with felony possession of a controlled
substance. Maxim promptly filed a motion to suppress
"all evidence obtained as the result of an illegal,
warrantless entry into [his] residence and/or an illegal
pat-down." Maxim argued that there were no exigent
circumstances to justify the officer's warrantless entry
of the home because no facts demonstrated an imminent
emergency. He also claimed that Officer Ludwig unlawfully
frisked him because, despite admitting to possessing a knife
in his pocket, the circumstances were insufficient for
Officer Ludwig to reasonably believe that Maxim was armed and
response, the State asserted a number of alternative
arguments. First, the State contended that Maxim did not have
"standing" to object to the searches because he did
not have a "reasonable or legitimate expectation of
privacy in the area searched. . . ." To prove this, the
State pointed out that Maxim denied living at the apartment
when asked by Officer Ludwig and that he waived his Fourth
Amendment rights under his terms of probation. Next, the
State argued the officers did not need a warrant to search
the apartment because they were performing their
community-caretaking function. Lastly, the State argued that
even if there were Fourth Amendment violations, the
exclusionary rule need not apply because "the police
would have utilized certain proper and predictable
investigatory procedures; and . . . such procedures would
have inevitably led to the discovery of the evidence . . .
responded by arguing that he lived at the apartment at the
time of the search and that he was not required to have an
ownership interest in the apartment to have a reasonable
expectation of privacy. Maxim asserted that he retained
Fourth Amendment standing because the officers were unaware
of the waiver at the time of the alleged violations.
district court held a hearing on the motion in late December
2017. At the hearing, Maxim testified that he had been living
at the apartment for almost a month prior to his arrest.
Officer Ludwig testified that he did not know of Maxim's
probation status at the time he entered the apartment or
frisked Maxim. At the hearing, the district court found that
Maxim made a sufficient showing to shift the burden to the
State. The district court took the rest of the issues under
advisement. On January 30, 2018, the district court entered a
written decision and order denying Maxim's motion and
concluded that discovery of the heroin was inevitable. Since
the discovery was inevitable and the exclusionary rule would
not apply, the district court reasoned it was not necessary
"to determine whether the actual entry and pat-down of
Maxim were lawful" or to "analyze the effectiveness
of Mr. Maxim's waiver unknown to the officers at the
thereafter, Maxim pleaded guilty to possession of heroin,
reserving the right to appeal the denial of the motion to
dismiss. He timely appealed.
ISSUES ON APPEAL
1. Can the existence of a Fourth Amendment waiver make an
otherwise unreasonable search of a probationer's home
reasonable even if the police were not aware of the waiver at
the time of the search?
2. Did the district court err in finding that the evidence
would have been inevitably discovered?
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a decision on a motion to suppress, this Court
"accepts the trial court's findings of fact that are
supported by substantial evidence, but freely reviews the
application of constitutional principles to the facts as
found." State v. Mullins, 164 Idaho 493, 496,
432 P.3d 42, 45 (2018) (quoting State v. McNeely,
162 Idaho 413, 414-15, 398 P.3d 146, 147-48 (2017)).
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects
"[t]he right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures . . . ." U.S. Const. amend. IV.
The "basic purpose" of the Fourth Amendment
"is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals
against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials."
Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2206, 2213
(2018) (quoting Camara v. Municipal Court of City and
County of San Francisco, 387 U.S. 523, 528 (1967)).
"The Founding generation crafted the Fourth Amendment as
a response to the reviled 'general warrants' and
'writs of assistance' of the colonial era, which
allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an
unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity."
Id. (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks
whether government activity constitutes a "search"
under the Fourth Amendment is an inquiry that has evolved
with the times. In the early days, the search doctrine was
"tied to common-law trespass," and asked whether
the government "obtain[ed] information by physically
intruding on a constitutionally protected area."
United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 405, 406 n. 3
(2012). In recent times, the Supreme Court has established
that "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not
places," and expanded the concept of the
Amendment to government violations of an "expectation of
privacy" that "society is prepared to recognize as
'reasonable.'" Carpenter, 138 S.Ct. at
2213 (quoting Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740
(1979)). Both historically and ...