State v. DuValt, No. 23229

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtSILAK; TROUT; JOHNSON
Citation961 P.2d 641,131 Idaho 550
Decision Date24 June 1998
Docket NumberNo. 23229
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Scott R. DuVALT, Defendant-Appellant. Boise, February 1998 Term

Page 641

961 P.2d 641
131 Idaho 550
STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Scott R. DuVALT, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 23229.
Supreme Court of Idaho,
Boise, February 1998 Term.
June 24, 1998.

Page 643

Gilman J. Gardner, Idaho Falls, for appellant.

Alan G. Lance, Attorney General; Kimberly A. Coster, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

SILAK, Justice

This case involves an appeal from a ruling of the district court refusing to grant the appellant's motion to suppress. We affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Scott R. DuValt (DuValt) was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by police for traffic violations and a nonfunctioning taillight. The police had initially encountered the vehicle while conducting surveillance on a house that was being visited by the occupants of the vehicle. Three people, the driver and two passengers, were in the vehicle. Following the stop, all three occupants of the vehicle were removed from the car by the police and handcuffed. One of police officers at the scene asked DuValt his identity. DuValt repeatedly gave false names, a false date of birth, and a false social security number.

While the officers were attempting to discern DuValt's true identity, DuValt asked one of the officers to retrieve for him a cigarette out of a pack of cigarettes located in DuValt's shirt pocket. In attempting to return the pack of cigarettes to DuValt's pocket, the officer was unable to do so because of an object in the pocket. The officer then reached into DuValt's pocket and removed a vial of what was later determined to contain methamphetamine. DuValt was immediately placed under arrest, searched and transported to the police station. During the search, a razor blade and a plastic bag containing marijuana and more methamphetamine were discovered on DuValt's person.

At the police station, DuValt's true identity was finally determined when he was identified by a probation and parole officer who knew DuValt was wanted for absconding from supervision on an unrelated matter. DuValt was charged with possession of methamphetamine under Idaho Code § 37-2732(c)(1). The State elected not to pursue charges related to the contents of the plastic bag.

DuValt filed a motion to suppress the controlled substance contained in the vial. The district court denied the motion to suppress, finding that the handcuffing of DuValt was a reasonable means to execute the investigatory stop, and the search of DuValt's pocket did not implicate the Fourth Amendment since DuValt voluntarily asked the police officer to retrieve the cigarettes. DuValt appeals the denial of the motion, asserting that the district court should have suppressed the evidence of the vial and the substance contained in it as fruits of an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When reviewing an order granting or denying a motion to suppress, this Court

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defers to the findings of fact of the trial court unless they are clearly erroneous. State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 185, 898 P.2d 1093, 1096 (1995). This Court exercises free review over whether constitutional requirements have been satisfied in light of the facts found. Id. Additionally, any implicit findings of the trial court supported by substantial evidence should be given due deference. State v. Kirkwood, 111 Idaho 623, 625, 726 P.2d 735, 737 (1986).

III.

ANALYSIS

A. The District Court Did Not Err In Finding That There Was Reasonable Suspicion To Initiate The Investigatory Stop.

It is well established in Idaho that when a police officer observes conduct which leads to the reasonable conclusion that "criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and dangerous," the officer is entitled to conduct a limited stop of the suspect. State v. Johns, 112 Idaho 873, 876-77, 736 P.2d 1327, 1330-31 (1987) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968)). The legality of the stop will be judged under a "totality of the circumstances" test. Id. The officer must have a reasonable articulable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. State v. Gallegos, 120 Idaho 894, 897, 821 P.2d 949, 952 (1991). This is a less demanding standard than the probable cause standard. Id. at 896, 821 P.2d at 951. "[T]he proper inquiry is to look at the totality of the circumstances and ask whether the facts available to the officers at the time of the stop gave rise to a reasonable suspicion, not probable cause to believe, that criminal activity may be afoot." Id. at 897, 821 P.2d at 952.

It is undisputed that the vehicle which DuValt occupied stopped at a house which was under surveillance by the police officers for suspected drug activities. It is also undisputed that the occupants of the vehicle visited with the residents of the house. After leaving this house, the driver of the vehicle committed several traffic violations, including failing to stop at a stop sign, making an unlawful u-turn, driving without taillights and exceeding the residential speed limit. These facts, taken as a whole, together with the reasonable inferences from those facts justified a limited stop. The police officers had been surveying a house suspected of drug activity; therefore, it can be inferred that occupants of the vehicle were involved with the criminal activity. Additionally, the traffic violations were unlawful activities and in themselves justified the limited stop. See I.C. § 49-1403 (stating that it is unlawful to operate a car on the public roads contrary to law.) The decision of the district court that the investigatory stop was a proper Terry stop is affirmed.

B. The Use Of The Handcuffs On DuValt Was A Reasonable Means To Execute The Investigatory Stop.

Preliminarily, we note that...

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124 practice notes
  • State v. Williams, Docket No. 44300
    • United States
    • Idaho Court of Appeals
    • 11 Enero 2018
    ...Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Terry , 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S.Ct. 1868 ; State v. DuValt , 131 Idaho 550, 553, 961 P.2d 641, 644 (1998) ; State v. Ferreira , 133 Idaho 474, 479, 988 P.2d 700, 705 (Ct. App. 1999). The district court first determin......
  • State v. Willoughby, No. 35289.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 12 Mayo 2009
    ...101 S.Ct. 690, 692, 66 L.Ed.2d 621, 628 (1981) and citing Terry, 392 U.S. at 1, 88 S.Ct. at 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d at 889; State v. DuValt, 131 Idaho 550, 552-53, 961 P.2d 641, 643-44 (1998)). An officer's suspicion must be grounded on specific articulable facts and rational inferences drawn from......
  • Trott v. State, No. 2066
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 25 Abril 2001
    ...in handcuffs during the course of an investigative detention where the circumstances reasonably warrant such action."); State v. DuValt, 131 Idaho 550, 961 P.2d 641, 645 (1998) ("[T]he use of the handcuffs did not transform the investigative detention into an arrest.") State v.Reid 135 N.H.......
  • State v. Williams, Docket No. 44300
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • 11 Enero 2018
    ...Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Terry , 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S.Ct. 1868 ; State v. DuValt , 131 Idaho 550, 553, 961 P.2d 641, 644 (1998) ; State v. Ferreira , 133 Idaho 474, 479, 988 P.2d 700, 705 (Ct. App. 1999). The district court first determin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
124 cases
  • State v. Williams, Docket No. 44300
    • United States
    • Idaho Court of Appeals
    • 11 Enero 2018
    ...Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Terry , 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S.Ct. 1868 ; State v. DuValt , 131 Idaho 550, 553, 961 P.2d 641, 644 (1998) ; State v. Ferreira , 133 Idaho 474, 479, 988 P.2d 700, 705 (Ct. App. 1999). The district court first determin......
  • State v. Willoughby, No. 35289.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 12 Mayo 2009
    ...101 S.Ct. 690, 692, 66 L.Ed.2d 621, 628 (1981) and citing Terry, 392 U.S. at 1, 88 S.Ct. at 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d at 889; State v. DuValt, 131 Idaho 550, 552-53, 961 P.2d 641, 643-44 (1998)). An officer's suspicion must be grounded on specific articulable facts and rational inferences drawn from......
  • Trott v. State, No. 2066
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 25 Abril 2001
    ...in handcuffs during the course of an investigative detention where the circumstances reasonably warrant such action."); State v. DuValt, 131 Idaho 550, 961 P.2d 641, 645 (1998) ("[T]he use of the handcuffs did not transform the investigative detention into an arrest.") State v.Reid 135 N.H.......
  • State v. Williams, Docket No. 44300
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • 11 Enero 2018
    ...Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Terry , 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S.Ct. 1868 ; State v. DuValt , 131 Idaho 550, 553, 961 P.2d 641, 644 (1998) ; State v. Ferreira , 133 Idaho 474, 479, 988 P.2d 700, 705 (Ct. App. 1999). The district court first determin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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