State v. Medley, No. 20174

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtTROUT; McDEVITT, C.J., JOHNSON and SILAK, JJ., and WALTERS
Citation127 Idaho 182,898 P.2d 1093
Decision Date29 June 1995
Docket NumberNo. 20174
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Michael MEDLEY, Defendant-Appellant. Boise, February 1994 Term

Page 1093

898 P.2d 1093
127 Idaho 182
STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Michael MEDLEY, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 20174.
Supreme Court of Idaho,
Boise, February 1994 Term.
June 29, 1995.

Page 1095

[127 Idaho 184] Jonathan B. Hull, Kootenai County Public Defender, and Joel K. Ryan, Deputy Public Defender, Coeur d'Alene, for appellant. Joel K. Ryan argued.

Larry EchoHawk, Idaho Atty. Gen., Douglas A. Werth, Deputy Atty. Gen., Boise, for respondent. Douglas A. Werth argued.

TROUT, Justice.

Michael Medley appeals his conviction for the misdemeanor offenses of driving under the influence (DUI) and possession of a firearm while intoxicated, both entered upon conditional pleas of guilty. Specifically, Medley challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress all evidence obtained by police when he was stopped at a Department of Fish and Game highway check station. Medley contends that the stop was unreasonable in violation of the United States and Idaho Constitutions.

I.

BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 17, 1990, from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (the Department) set up a check station on U.S. Highway 95. This check station was pre-approved by the Department's regional supervisor and, by invitation of another Department official, officers from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, the United States Border Patrol, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kootenai County Law Enforcement Auxiliary, and the Kootenai County Interagency Drug Task Force participated in the operation.

The checkpoint was situated at a weigh station on the west side of U.S. Highway 95. The record reveals that only Department officers were involved in the actual stopping of vehicles. All southbound vehicles, with the exception of large trucks, emergency vehicles, and law enforcement vehicles, were stopped by a P.O.S.T. (Police Officers Standards and Training) certified Department conservation officer acting as flagperson. Signs were set up ahead of the check station to warn vehicles of the upcoming stop.

After the vehicles were stopped, the Department flagperson asked the drivers whether they had been fishing or hunting and whether they possessed any fish or game. If a driver answered affirmatively, the flagperson directed that driver to a spot in the weigh station parking lot for further inquiry. The flagperson also diverted persons with expired vehicle registration and persons suspected of driving under the influence, possession of drugs, or other offenses. Once parked, these drivers were questioned by another Department officer. If a violation not pertaining to fish and game was suspected, the Department officer was accompanied by a law enforcement officer. Vehicles that were not diverted from the main flow of traffic were only momentarily detained; vehicles that were diverted from the main flow were detained for a short time unless there was a violation.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., conservation officer Greg Johnson, acting as flagperson, waived Medley into the weigh station. Johnson testified that he observed Medley's truck approach faster than normal and that the truck did not slow down soon enough, actually going past the stop sign and triangle cone where Johnson was standing. On approaching the vehicle, Johnson detected the odor of

Page 1096

[127 Idaho 185] alcohol on Medley's breath and observed that Medley's eyes were red and watery. By radio, Johnson informed the Department officer in charge of the operation, Wayne Weseman, that Medley was possibly under the influence. He then directed Medley to the weigh station parking lot. Officer Weseman alerted law enforcement officers of the possibility that Medley was driving under the influence. Those officers apparently took charge at that point. Deputy Sheriff Gary Dagastine of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office observed signs of intoxication and ultimately arrested Medley. Medley was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana, a weapons violation, and an open container violation.

Thereafter, Medley moved to suppress all evidence seized and observations made as a result of the check station stop, and to dismiss the charges against him, alleging that the initial stop was unlawful and without legal justification in violation of the United States and Idaho Constitutions. After a hearing and after reviewing the transcript of another case involving the same check station, the magistrate denied the motion. On December 24, 1991, Medley entered a conditional plea of guilty to the DUI and weapons violations and the State dismissed the other two charges. The magistrate entered judgments of conviction for driving under the influence and possession of a firearm while intoxicated based on Medley's conditional pleas. The district court upheld the magistrate's ruling and this appeal followed.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In reviewing an order granting or denying a motion to suppress evidence, an appellate court will defer to the trial court's factual findings unless the findings are clearly erroneous. However, free review is exercised over the trial court's determination as to whether constitutional requirements have been satisfied in light of the facts found. State v. Weber, 116 Idaho 449, 451-52, 776 P.2d 458, 460-61 (1989). Further, when an appeal is initially taken to the district court, any subsequent review will be conducted independent of, but with due regard for, the decision of the district court. Smith v. Smith, 124 Idaho 431, 436, 860 P.2d 634, 639 (1993) (citing McNelis v. McNelis, 119 Idaho 349, 806 P.2d 442 (1991)).

III.

THE SEIZURE THAT OCCURRED IN THIS CASE WAS UNREASONABLE IN VIOLATION OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

The issue before this Court is whether the magistrate properly denied Medley's motion to suppress based on his determination that the initial stop did not violate Medley's constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. We hold that there was a violation under the United States Constitution. Therefore, we reverse the denial of the motion to suppress.

The Fourth Amendment to the...

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33 practice notes
  • People v. Maikhio, No. S180289.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 20, 2011
    ...207 W.Va. 686, 536 S.E.2d 110, 112) or went beyond the bounds of a reasonable fish and game inspection (see, e.g., State v. Medley (1995) 127 Idaho 182, 898 P.2d 1093; State v. Baldwin (1984) 124 N.H. 770, 475 A.2d 522, 526–527). We are aware of one out-of-state case in which an appellate c......
  • State v. Maland, No. 29136.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 24, 2004
    ...trial court's determination as to whether, based on those factual findings, constitutional requirements have been met. State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 185, 898 P.2d 1093, 1096 (1995); State v. Weber, 116 Idaho 449, 451-52, 776 P.2d 458, 460-61 ANALYSIS I. There was no valid Terry stop. The ......
  • State v. Donato, No. 25924.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 1, 2001
    ...a motion to suppress evidence, this Court will defer to the trial court's factual findings unless clearly erroneous. State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 185, 898 P.2d 1093 (1995). However, free review is exercised over a trial court's determination as to whether constitutional requirements have......
  • State v. Thurman, No. 25356.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • December 21, 1999
    ...in wildlife preservation, protection, perpetuation and management, in stark contrast to the check station struck down in State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 898 P.2d 1093 (1995). In Medley, the IDFG officer in charge of the check station issued a "blanket invitation" to any additional law enfor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • People v. Maikhio, No. S180289.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 20, 2011
    ...207 W.Va. 686, 536 S.E.2d 110, 112) or went beyond the bounds of a reasonable fish and game inspection (see, e.g., State v. Medley (1995) 127 Idaho 182, 898 P.2d 1093; State v. Baldwin (1984) 124 N.H. 770, 475 A.2d 522, 526–527). We are aware of one out-of-state case in which an appellate c......
  • State v. Maland, No. 29136.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 24, 2004
    ...trial court's determination as to whether, based on those factual findings, constitutional requirements have been met. State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 185, 898 P.2d 1093, 1096 (1995); State v. Weber, 116 Idaho 449, 451-52, 776 P.2d 458, 460-61 ANALYSIS I. There was no valid Terry stop. The ......
  • State v. Donato, No. 25924.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 1, 2001
    ...a motion to suppress evidence, this Court will defer to the trial court's factual findings unless clearly erroneous. State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 185, 898 P.2d 1093 (1995). However, free review is exercised over a trial court's determination as to whether constitutional requirements have......
  • State v. Thurman, No. 25356.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • December 21, 1999
    ...in wildlife preservation, protection, perpetuation and management, in stark contrast to the check station struck down in State v. Medley, 127 Idaho 182, 898 P.2d 1093 (1995). In Medley, the IDFG officer in charge of the check station issued a "blanket invitation" to any additional law enfor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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