State v. Baker, No. 30994-7-II (WA 8/9/2005), No. 30994-7-II

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtBridgewater
Decision Date09 August 2005
Docket NumberNo. 31724-9-II,Consolidated with: No. 31134-8-II,No. 30994-7-II

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Unpublished Opinion

No. 30994-7-II
Consolidated with: No. 31134-8-II
No. 31724-9-II
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division Two.
Filed: August 9, 2005

Appeal from Superior Court of Clallam County. Docket No. 02-1-00125-3. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 10/06/2003. Judge signing: Hon. Thomas J Majhan.

Counsel for Appellant(s), Jodi R. Backlund, Backlund & Mistry, 203 4th Ave E Ste 217, Olympia, WA 98501-1187.

Manek R. Mistry, Backlund & Mistry, 203 4th Ave E Ste 217, Olympia, WA 98501-1187.

Counsel for Respondent(s), John Gregory Prentiss, Clallam County Prosecutors Office, 223 E 4th St Ste 11, Port Angeles, WA 98362-3015.

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Douglas Eugene Baker appeals his convictions of 14 counts of delivery of a controlled substance-cocaine, 14 counts of money laundering, and one count of possession of a controlled substance from one trial. He also appeals his convictions in a severed trial of manufacturing marijuana and first degree defrauding a public utility. We address both appeals in the same opinion because all counts depend upon a seminal search warrant that led to other warrants and to records and witnesses. We hold that the warrant was not based on probable cause, violated constitutional guarantees, and all evidence must be suppressed. We reverse and remand for an order of dismissal as to all counts stemming from both trials.

Police began investigating Baker for selling controlled substances in 1986. In January 2000, detectives with the Clallam County Sheriff's Department and the Washington State Patrol applied for 13 separate search warrants to search Baker's financial and telephone records.

The consolidated affidavit in support of the warrant was 31 pages long; it also had three exhibits describing the expertise of the three investigators and stated that the `case under investigation involves the delivery of cocaine, and the manufacture and delivery of marijuana.' Clerk's Papers (CP) at 102. The affidavit describes information spanning from 1986 to 2000 obtained from both confidential and named informants and independent police investigation. It was signed January 21, 2000, and is essentially a chronology of police contacts concerning Baker. The salient portions of the affidavit supporting the warrant are set forth below.

Police were first notified about Baker in June 1986, when Baker paid $5,000 cash with a wide range of denominations as earnest money to purchase a restaurant and his residence at 166 Old Dad's Road in Sequim, Washington. The realtor informed police of this `unusual' occurrence. CP at 103.

In October 1986, Elizabeth Horton was arrested for delivering cocaine; following her arrest, she agreed to cooperate with the police. She stated that when she began dealing cocaine in Clallam County, Baker was her `main source' of cocaine. She eventually turned to Baker's supplier in California because he was `cutting his cocaine too many times.' CP at 104. Horton provided other information that was corroborated by other police investigations and arrests and that had proved reliable including details that led to her husband's arrest. Around the same time, police informant William Soper provided information that Baker was trafficking cocaine and was Horton's supplier.

In May 1987, police conducted surveillance of Baker's residence for approximately one week. Baker seldom left his residence and, on one occasion when he did, he met with a man previously reported as a cocaine trafficker.

In October 1989, Baker formed Hard Rock Trucking, Inc. (Hard Rock). He filed the appropriate documents with the Washington State Department of Revenue and was listed as the registered agent. In 1990, the Sequim Gazette Newspaper featured an advertisement for Hard Rock. The ad depicted Baker as the owner and Chris Enges and Bob Tankersly as employees. As of June 1999, Hard Rock was reporting income.

In March 1992, police investigated the accidental shooting of Daniel Lindvig, who was high on cocaine at the time. Lindvig told police that Baker supplied him with cocaine and that Baker sold the cocaine from his residence and was `busiest' on Friday and Saturday evenings. CP at 108.

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In June 1992, Baker purchased 3.11 acres of property at Triton Cove near Brinnon, Washington for $33,500.

Sometime during the 1990s, Pro Clean Carpet Care, a business located in Sequim and Port Angeles, Washington, reported to police that two of its employees had cleaned Baker's carpets and had seen `money laying all around' his residence. CP at 109.

In April 1994, Baker and his wife, Francie Baker, formed Castle Rock Llamas, Inc. As of June 1999, Castle Rock Llamas was not reporting income.

In September 1995, the owner of Frank's Surplus in Discovery Bay informed police that Lonnie Germain and another person had wanted to purchase between 60 and 100 five-gallon plastic buckets; in the affiants' experience, many marijuana growers use five-gallon buckets as pots for growing marijuana.

In October 1995, a customs agent went to Baker's business, Bedrock Spas, located in Sequim. The agent called the telephone number posted on the door, and a female answered and gave the phone to Baker. Baker encouraged the agent to come into the store. In addition, police again conducted surveillance of Baker's residence. They observed traffic coming and going from Baker's residence.

In August 1997, Baker purchased two lots in Ocean Shores, Washington for $46,000.

In January 1998, police attempted to contact Baker regarding a reported disturbance in a motel but could not because his property was gated by an electronically controlled iron gate.

In February 1998, Baker purchased a new Dodge pickup truck. Sometime in 1998, he was stopped by police while driving in Bellevue, Washington. The officer observed what he believed was possible `marijuana grow equipment' in the back of Baker's truck. CP at 113. Baker was not arrested, but the officer contacted the Clallam County drug task force and reported that Baker might be involved in a marijuana growing operation.

In addition, Baker purchased a motor home; Department of Licensing records indicated a purchase price of $25,000. Police contacted a local motor home dealer who stated that the average price for the same make and model would be around $65,000.

In January 1999, a citizen informant known only to police, reported that Germain was dealing marijuana and cocaine and had a marijuana growing operation somewhere in Clallam County. The informant further reported that Germain obtained the cocaine from Baker, and that Baker made frequent trips to the residence where Germain was living at the time. Additionally, the informant stated that Germain claimed to work for Hard Rock but that Hard Rock was really a `front' that Baker used to launder money. CP at 115. The citizen informant had provided information to police for three years, which had proved accurate and reliable and was corroborated by information from subsequent investigations and arrests. The informant was closely associated with Baker in the past and chose to remain anonymous out of a `strong fear' of Baker. CP at 116.

Also in January 1999, an informant, nicknamed `Marvin Gardens' by police, reported that his girlfriend had been a `heavy cocaine dealer' for Baker from the period 1990 through 1992 and that her sister was the girlfriend of `Kenneth Kennedy.' CP at 114. `Gardens' further stated that he `kn{ew} . . . Baker was selling marijuana for Kennedy and Kennedy was selling cocaine for Baker.' CP at 115. The affidavit stated that `Gardens' had provided reliable information in the past, including information that yielded an active marijuana grow operation, and police considered `Gardens's' information to be `right on the money, every time.' CP at 114.

In February 1999, while arresting Germain outside his residence, a police officer smelled the odor of burning marijuana coming from the chimney. The officer knocked at Germain's door, and his girlfriend, Cheryl Rawson, answered the door. Rawson admitted burning marijuana in the stove. After the fire was put out, police discovered a dozen cut marijuana stems that had been clipped from marijuana buds.

In March 1999, the citizen informant again spoke with police. The citizen reported that Germain's girlfriend, Rawson, was bragging about

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Germain's marijuana sales. The citizen informant stated that he personally had seen Baker at the residence where Germain was residing.

In August 1999, Baker, doing business as Hard Rock Trucking, purchased 7.5 acres next to his property at Old Dad's Road for $67,500 cash.

In November 1999, police received information from two neighbors of Baker's Brinnon property. They had observed Baker constructing a shop on the property, which he stated was for storing a boat. At a later date, the neighbors spoke with Germain, who was residing in a trailer on the property. They detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the shop and observed water running from its main door. Germain told the neighbors that he was purchasing the land from Baker.

On December 20, 21, and 22, 1999, police again conducted surveillance of Baker's residence. Police observed several vehicles traveling up and down Old Dad's Road. One individual drove from Old Dad's Road to an AM/PM convenience store and made a call on a pay phone. Additionally, police observed Baker drive from his residence to a McDonald's restaurant. At McDonald's, Baker met with another person for two minutes. Baker then turned out of the McDonald's parking lot, drove a few blocks, and turned around. He drove back into the McDonald's parking lot, parked his truck, backed out of the parking spot and again drove forward into it. Baker then made a call on his cell phone; during the conversation, Baker opened his door, closed it, and...

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