State v. Heinen, 17015

CourtCourt of Appeals of Idaho
Citation759 P.2d 947,114 Idaho 656
Docket NumberNo. 17015,17015
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Daniel J. HEINEN, Defendant-Respondent.
Decision Date01 August 1988

Page 947

759 P.2d 947
114 Idaho 656
STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Daniel J. HEINEN, Defendant-Respondent.
No. 17015.
Court of Appeals of Idaho.
Aug. 1, 1988.
Petition for Review Denied Sept. 21, 1988.

Page 948

[114 Idaho 657] Jim Jones, Atty. Gen., Myrna A.I. Stahman, Deputy Atty. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-appellant.

William M. Appleton, Appleton and Cameron, Coeur d'Alene, for defendant-respondent.

WALTERS, Chief Judge.

The state charged Daniel James Heinen with grand theft by possession of stolen property. Heinen moved to suppress the contents of a briefcase found in his possession at the time of his arrest, claiming the warrantless search by law enforcement officers was illegal. The district court granted the motion and the state appeals. For the reasons explained below, we reverse the order of the district court.

On March 3, 1987, Heinen entered a motel room in Coeur d'Alene and met with an undercover operative employed by Transtector Corporation. 1 In that meeting Heinen allegedly sold the operative a stolen list of Transtector business clients in exchange for $3,000. When Heinen left the motel room he was approached and arrested by two police officers. He was told to place the briefcase down and was then handcuffed. Within a few moments of his arrest one of the officers picked up the briefcase, opened it briefly and observed a large stack of currency and some miscellaneous papers. The officer then closed the briefcase. Heinen was transported and booked into jail. The officers took the briefcase to the detectives' office, inventoried the contents and recovered $3,000 in currency and a Transtector customer list.

Page 949

[114 Idaho 658] Heinen concedes that the police had probable cause to make the warrantless arrest. Therefore, the sole question presented is whether the seizure of the briefcase and the initial search of its contents at the time Heinen was arrested, coupled with the subsequent search at the detectives' office, violated Heinen's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

A search by law enforcement officers without a warrant is per se unreasonable unless it falls within certain specific and well delineated exceptions. State v. Harwood, 94 Idaho 615, at 617-18, 495 P.2d 160 at 162 (1972); Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 91 S.Ct. 2022, 29 L.Ed.2d 564 (1971). The determination of what is reasonable, within the meaning of the Constitution, is a question of law. In reviewing such questions, we exercise free review. Standards of Appellate Review in State and Federal Courts, IDAHO APPELLATE HANDBOOK § 3.2 (Idaho Law Foundation, Inc. 1985). Once review is sought, the appellate court has the ultimate responsibility of measuring the facts as found by the trier against the constitutional standard of reasonableness. State v. Allgood, 98 Idaho 525 at 529, 567 P.2d 1276 at 1280 (1977), citing: People v. Gale, 511 P.2d 1204 (Cal.1973); People v. Lawler, 507 P.2d 621 (Cal.1973). The proper standard of review is one of deference to factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. But, we may undertake a free review of the trial court's determination as to whether constitutional requirements have been satisfied in light of facts found. State v. Rusho, 110 Idaho 556, 559, 716 P.2d 1328, 1331 (Ct.App.1986). Here, the facts are undisputed. Accordingly, our review concerns only the question of law.

It is clear that a police officer may conduct a warrantless search of a suspect...

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40 cases
  • State v. Bainbridge, No. 16808
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 5, 1990
    ...court's legal determination of whether or not an illegal seizure occurred. United States Constitution, Amendment IV; State v. Heinen, 114 Idaho 656, 759 P.2d 947 (1988). Since Bainbridge is contesting the legality of the seizure, we will review this issue de The Fourth Amendment is virtuall......
  • State v. Hawkins, 22489
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • April 13, 1998
    ...have been satisfied in light of the facts found. State v. Pick, 124 Idaho 601, 603, 861 P.2d 1266, 1268 (Ct.App.1993); State v. Heinen, 114 Idaho 656, 658, 759 P.2d 947, 949 (Ct.App.1988). The determination of whether a search is reasonable, and therefore complies with the Fourth Amendment,......
  • People v. Catanzarite, Docket Nos. 165709
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    • June 23, 1995
    ...(1992); Ricks v. State, 322 Md. 183, 586 A.2d 740 (1991); Commonwealth v. Madera, 402 Mass. 156, 521 N.E.2d 738 (1988); State v. Heinen, 114 Idaho 656, 759 P.2d 947 (App.1988); State v. Boff, 766 P.2d 646 (Colo., 1988); Carrasco v. State, 712 S.W.2d 120 (Tex.Crim.App.1986). See also 2 LaFav......
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