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Dana Yvette Dickey v. the State of Wyoming

September 28, 2011

DANA YVETTE DICKEY, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge

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

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

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] Appellant Dana Yvette Dickey entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of possession of a controlled substance, a felony. She reserved the right to appeal the district court's denial of her motion to suppress the methamphetamine found in her purse following a traffic stop. In this appeal, Dickey claims the evidence should have been suppressed as the fruit of a constitutionally infirm detention under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We disagree, and affirm the district court's suppression ruling.

ISSUE

[¶2] Dickey offers the following issue for our consideration:

Did the district court err when it failed to suppress evidence obtained in violation of [her] Fourth Amendment rights after law enforcement extended a traffic stop beyond the time reasonably required to complete the issuance of the citations, without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity?*fn1

FACTS

[¶3] On September 20, 2009, Deputies Robert Proffitt and Trevor Budd of the Campbell County Sheriff's Department stopped a pickup truck driven by Dickey after observing it cross the center line on three occasions. Deputy Proffitt made contact with Dickey, whom he knew from prior contacts, while Deputy Budd spoke with the passenger. After gathering the appropriate documents from Dickey and her passenger, the deputies returned to their patrol car.

[¶4] Deputy Proffitt then contacted dispatch to run a check on Dickey and her passenger. While awaiting a response from dispatch, the deputies discussed their prior drug-related encounters with Dickey and her family members. Shortly thereafter, dispatch reported that Dickey and her passenger had no outstanding warrants, although both had a history of contacts with law enforcement regarding controlled substances. At that point, knowing that the sheriff's department did not have a canine unit on duty, Deputy Proffitt called the Gillette Police Department and requested that Officer Greg Brothers bring his drug dog Eddy to the scene.

[¶5] Deputy Proffitt then began writing a warning citation for Dickey's failure to maintain a single lane of travel. Before Deputy Proffitt issued the citation, Officer Brothers arrived with his drug dog and conducted an exterior sniff of the truck.

Approximately thirteen and one-half minutes into the stop, the dog alerted to the presence of controlled substances. Officer Brothers searched the truck's interior and discovered a purse underneath the passenger seat, which contained a syringe loaded with methamphetamine and a copy of Dickey's birth certificate. When questioned, the passenger reported that Dickey handed her the purse with directions to place it under the seat.

[¶6] Dickey was taken into custody and charged with possession of a controlled substance, her third or subsequent such offense, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(i)(C) (LexisNexis 2011).*fn2 She filed a motion to suppress the methamphetamine found in her purse, claiming it was the product of an unlawful detention. Dickey and the State later agreed that an evidentiary hearing would not be necessary to resolve the suppression motion and filed a stipulation to that effect. They also stipulated that the district court could rely on the relevant pleadings, a video of the traffic stop, as recorded by the camera in Deputy Proffitt's patrol car, and an audio recording of Dickey's preliminary hearing, during which Deputy Proffitt testified, in deciding the merits of her motion. After considering that information, the district court denied the motion. The district court rejected Dickey's contention that the deputies had improperly extended the duration of the traffic stop to enable the dog sniff to occur. The district court determined that the canine unit arrived within the time it took Deputy Proffitt to complete his investigation and prepare the warning citation, and that the amount of time taken to complete the citation was not unreasonable.

[ΒΆ7] Thereafter, Dickey entered a conditional guilty plea to the possession charge, reserving the right to appeal the district court's suppression ruling. The district court sentenced her to eighteen to thirty-six months, which it suspended in ...


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