Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sutton v. State

December 9, 2009

WILLIE EARL SUTTON, III, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Edward L. Grant, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kite, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] After conditionally pleading guilty to a controlled substance offense, Mr. Sutton challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence discovered during a search of the vehicle he was driving. He maintains that he was unconstitutionally detained for a canine drug sniff. We conclude that the trooper had reasonable suspicion to detain him and affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] Mr. Sutton states a single issue on appeal:

Was the continued detention of Mr. Sutton after he refused to consent to a search supported by reasonable suspicion?

The State phrases the issue as:

Were Appellant's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution violated, and did the district court err in denying his motion to suppress?

FACTS

[¶3]On March 15, 2007, Mr. Sutton was driving a blue Pontiac car with California license plates eastbound on I-80. Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Mrsny stopped the vehicle for traveling 80 miles per hour in a 75 miles per hour zone. The stop was video recorded by Trooper Mrsny. Trooper Mrsny approached the car and greeted Mr. Sutton. He noticed some items on the front passenger seat of the car, including large cooking bags and a bottle of No-Doz; two cell phones were located on the center console. Mr. Sutton stated that he was traveling to Denver, Colorado to see his girlfriend who was due to have a baby on March 14, 2007, (the day before the stop). Trooper Mrsny informed him that he had missed the I-25 exit to Denver. Mr. Sutton provided the trooper with a rental agreement for the car and an Illinois driver's license.

[¶4] Trooper Mrsny asked Mr. Sutton to accompany him to the patrol car. Reviewing the rental agreement, the trooper noticed that Mr. Sutton had rented the car in San Francisco, California for one day. The rental agreement stated that he had rented the car on March 13, 2007, and the car was due to have been returned to the rental company the day before, March 14, 2007. When asked about the terms of the rental agreement, Mr. Sutton explained that, when he rented the car, he did not know how long he was going to need it so he just rented it for one day but the term could be extended.

[¶5] Trooper Mrsny issued a warning to Mr. Sutton and told him he was free to leave. After Mr. Sutton exited the patrol car, the trooper followed him and asked for permission to ask some more questions. Mr. Sutton acquiesced to the additional questioning. Trooper Mrsny asked again about the one-day rental. Mr. Sutton stated that he had originally rented the car just to drive around San Francisco, but had decided at the last minute to travel to Denver and he had called the rental company to make arrangements to extend the rental period. The trooper inquired whether there were illegal drugs in the car, asking about several controlled substances individually, and Mr. Sutton denied having any such contraband. Trooper Mrsny then asked for permission to search the car and Mr. Sutton refused.

[¶6] Trooper Mrsny informed Mr. Sutton that he was detaining him for a canine drug sniff. The canine unit arrived approximately twelve minutes later and the dog immediately alerted. The officers searched the trunk, recovering approximately five pounds of marijuana, some packaged in oven cooking bags.

[¶7] Mr. Sutton was arrested and charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(a)(ii) (LexisNexis2009), and one count of felony possession of marijuana in violation of § 35-7-1031(c)(iii) (LexisNexis 2009).*fn1 Mr. Sutton filed a motion to suppress the evidence recovered as a result of the search, asserting several different arguments that his detention and the search violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The district court held a hearing and denied the suppression motion. Mr. Sutton then entered into a plea agreement with the State. He pled guilty to possession with intent to deliver marijuana, reserving his right to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.