State v. Smith, Docket No. 41661

Decision Date15 June 2015
Docket Number2015 Opinion No. 34,Docket No. 41661
CourtIdaho Court of Appeals
PartiesSTATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. KENNETH RANDALL SMITH, Defendant-Appellant.

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Fred M. Gibler, District Judge.

Judgments of conviction and sentences, affirmed.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Ben P. McGreevy argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Russell J. Spencer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Russell J. Spencer argued.


WALTERS, Judge Pro Tem

Kenneth Randall Smith appeals from his judgments of conviction for possession of methamphetamine, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and driving under the influence (DUI). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.


This case consists of two incidents that were consolidated by the district court below for appeal.

A. Possession of Methamphetamine

At approximately 2:30 a.m. one August morning in 2012, Officer Patrick Cwik of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department pulled Smith over for failing to signal. Upon contacting Smith, Officer Cwik saw a baton and a hatchet inside the vehicle and asked Smith to stepoutside. Smith leaned against his trunk and removed his jacket, placing it on the trunk near him. After running Smith's information through dispatch, Officer Cwik was informed Smith had a history of physical altercations with law enforcement and that his driver's license was expired. Smith claimed to have a valid license and registration in the car and gave Officer Cwik permission to retrieve them.

Before entering the vehicle to find Smith's license and registration, Officer Cwik patted down Smith's jacket, which was still within Smith's reach. Inside a pocket the officer felt a "hard rectangular object," which, based on his training and experience, he believed may be a Taser. Smith denied it was a Taser, claimed it was a "sacred" item, and began to "get agitated and stepped towards" Officer Cwik. The officer removed the item from the jacket, revealing a hard rectangular object in a sock, the combination of which he recognized as "sort of a homemade, fashioned weapon." Officer Cwik shook out the sock to remove the object inside, which turned out to be a small container approximately the size of a pack of cigarettes. As he was doing so, the contents of the container spilled out, including syringes and a baggie with white residue. When asked by Officer Cwik, Smith admitted the items belonged to him, admitted to having used one of the syringes to inject methamphetamine at some point earlier in the evening, and admitted to having track marks on his arm. The officer seized the items, cited Smith for possession of drug paraphernalia, and released him. The white residue later tested positive for methamphetamine.

Smith was charged with possession of a controlled substance, Idaho Code § 37-2732(c)(1). He filed a motion to suppress, contending his detention was unlawfully extended, the frisk of his jacket was unlawful, and his statements admitting to ownership of the items in the container were elicited in violation of his Miranda1 rights. Following a hearing, the district court denied the motion.

The State filed an amended information, adding an allegation that Smith was a persistent violator. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Smith entered a conditional guilty plea to the possession charge, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Among other things, the State agreed to dismiss the persistent violator sentencing enhancement. Smith now appeals the denial of his motion to suppress.

B. Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, DUI

Approximately one month after the traffic stop discussed above, Smith dropped off a friend at an apartment complex, where two sisters later alleged that he physically shoved them with his chest. As a witness was calling 911, Smith drove away.

Sometime later, Alicia Sullivan and her husband, Bradley Brumbaugh, were at home when they heard a loud crash. Sullivan ran outside to investigate and saw a vehicle swerving down the middle of the road. Sullivan and Brumbaugh decided to follow in their vehicle in order to record its license plate number and report a possible DUI. Sullivan, who was driving, pulled the car up next to the swerving vehicle, which had stopped by the side of the road. Brumbaugh asked the driver, a man they later identified as Smith, if he was okay. Brumbaugh and Sullivan testified that Smith responded by swinging a large knife into their car and striking Brumbaugh in the neck, leaving a small mark. Sullivan drove away and the couple reported the incident to police. At trial, Smith testified he never threatened the couple and was merely attempting to show them the knife as a "gift" in an effort "to kind of defuse the situation."

Smith also engaged in a confrontation with another man at the scene, Thomas Moorhouse. Moorhouse testified that Smith began shouting at him and approaching him aggressively. As Smith became increasingly agitated and approached Moorhouse more quickly, Moorhouse began to retreat around the front of his vehicle. Smith, again brandishing the large knife, chased Moorhouse around his vehicle several times until Moorhouse's friend intervened and Smith left the scene. Moorhouse reported the incident to the police. Smith testified at trial that he did not threaten Moorhouse with the knife.

Police later located Smith, who was riding a bike. As they pursued him with their emergency overhead lights engaged, Smith fled and attempted to evade them. Eventually, police surrounded Smith, who reacted aggressively toward them until an officer subdued him by deploying a Taser gun. As Smith fell to the ground, he dropped a syringe and a pocket knife. Police also recovered the large knife said to be used against Brumbaugh and Moorhouse.

Smith was placed in the backseat of a patrol car, where video captured him chewing on the door of the vehicle. He was transported to Kootenai Medical Center where a warrantless blood draw was conducted. The results indicated Smith had recently used methamphetamine.

Smith was charged with aggravated assault, I.C. §§ 18-901, 18-905, 19-2514, for chasing Moorhouse with the large knife; aggravated battery, I.C. §§ 18-903, 18-907, 19-2514, for cuttingBrumbaugh with the knife; misdemeanor driving under the influence of methamphetamine, I.C. § 18-8004; two counts of battery, I.C. § 18-903, for shoving each of the sisters at the apartment complex; malicious injury to property, I.C. § 18-7001, for chewing on the patrol car door; possession of paraphernalia, I.C. § 37-2734A, for possession of the syringe; and resisting and obstructing arrest, I.C. § 18-705. The State also filed enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon, I.C. § 19-2520, and being a persistent violator, I.C. § 19-2514.

Smith filed a motion in limine to exclude certain evidence, including testimony relating to his prior conviction for burglary in Washington in 2000. The district court denied the motion. Smith then filed a motion to suppress the results of the test obtained following the warrantless blood draw. After a hearing, the district court denied the motion. Smith pled guilty to malicious injury to property, possession of paraphernalia, and resisting and obstructing an officer, but went to trial on the remaining counts. The jury found Smith guilty of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and DUI, but acquitted him of the two battery charges. Smith now appeals the denial of his motion in limine and motion to suppress.

A. Possession of Methamphetamine

Smith contends the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress the methamphetamine found in his jacket because: (1) the stop was unlawfully extended; (2) the initial frisk of his jacket was unlawful; (3) even if the frisk was lawful, the removal of the container from the sock exceeded the scope of a valid frisk; and (4) Smith was not given Miranda warnings despite being in custody. The standard of review of a suppression motion is bifurcated. When a decision on a motion to suppress is challenged, we accept the trial court's findings of fact that are supported by substantial evidence, but we freely review the application of constitutional principles to the facts as found. State v. Atkinson, 128 Idaho 559, 561, 916 P.2d 1284, 1286 (Ct. App. 1996). At a suppression hearing, the power to assess the credibility of witnesses, resolve factual conflicts, weigh evidence, and draw factual inferences is vested in the trial court. State v. Valdez-Molina, 127 Idaho 102, 106, 897 P.2d 993, 997 (1995); State v. Schevers, 132 Idaho 786, 789, 979 P.2d 659, 662 (Ct. App. 1999).

1. Extension of traffic stop

Smith contends the traffic stop was unlawfully extended because the officers abandoned the original purpose of the traffic stop (investigating the traffic violation) and began investigating a suspected DUI. There, he contends, the traffic stop "became no longer reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the stop at its inception."

The stop of a vehicle constitutes a seizure of its occupants and is therefore subject to Fourth Amendment restraints. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 653 (1979); State v. Grantham, 146 Idaho 490, 495-96, 198 P.3d 128, 133-34 (Ct. App. 2008). Because a traffic stop is limited in scope and duration, it is analogous to an investigative detention and is analyzed under the principles set forth in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Prouse, 440 U.S. at 653; State v. Danney, 153 Idaho 405, 409, 283 P.3d 722, 726 (2012); Grantham, 146 Idaho 490, 496, 198 P.3d 128, 134. An investigative detention must be temporary and last no longer than is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Danney, 153 Idaho at 409, 283 P.3d at 726. There is no rigid time limit...

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