from the District Court of Albany County The Honorable Tori
R.A. Kricken, Judge
Representing Appellant: Thomas A. Fleener of Fleener Law, PC,
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General;
Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General;
Darrell D. Jackson, Faculty Director, Prosecution Assistance
Program; Saige N. Smith, Student Director; and Becky Farley,
Student Intern. Argument by Ms. Farley.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
James Bryant Harris, Jr., argues that the trial court erred
in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as a
result of a detention and subsequent search of his vehicle.
Mr. Harris submits his single issue on appeal:
Did the trial court err in denying Appellant's Motion to
Suppress Evidence obtained as a result of his illegal
detention and subsequent search of his vehicle?
On May 5, 2016, in the early afternoon, Trooper Aaron Kirlin
initiated a vehicle stop on Interstate 80 for speeding. Two
people occupied the vehicle - James Harris and his wife,
Katelyn. The trooper requested Mr. Harris's license,
registration, and proof of insurance, and told Mr. Harris he
would only be warned for speeding. The information checked
out, except for the insurance card's expiration date.
After some discussion about the insurance, Trooper Kirlin
asked Mr. Harris to come back to the patrol car while he
verified the remaining documentation. While in the patrol
car, Trooper Kirlin inquired about the Harris's travel
plans. Mr. Harris was unclear about when exactly they left
Salt Lake City, Utah, or when they left Florida, and
requested the trooper to ask his wife. Mr. Harris also said
it had taken two days to drive from Salt Lake City, and that
they intended to travel to Florida in the same amount of
time, which the trooper found odd.
During the hearing on Mr. Harris's motion, Trooper Kirlin
testified that throughout the encounter, Mr. Harris was
nervous, as evidenced by a rocking leg, fidgeting with his
pants pockets, and excessive talking. The trooper testified
that he tried to set Harris at ease by asking about things
like fishing, but when returning to the subject of travel
plans, his nervousness returned. The trooper also testified
that when he asked Harris about medical conditions, he
responded that he had an anxiety disorder.
Trooper Kirlin testified that he then went back to the
Harris's car to speak with Mrs. Harris. She reported she
was having trouble finding the updated insurance information,
and when asked about travel plans, she stated they were
traveling from Eugene, Oregon. She stated they were driving
straight through to Florida, but did make a couple stops in
various towns, but did not remember which ones, except for
Salt Lake City. The trooper retuned to the patrol car and
asked Mr. Harris if he had ever been arrested. The trooper
testified that early on in his contact with Mr. Harris,
dispatch informed him that his car had been stopped three
months earlier near Rock Springs, Wyoming, and that had
resulted in the seizure of a small amount of marijuana and