from the District Court of Albany County The Honorable Tori
R.A. Kricken, Judge
Representing Appellant: Donna D. Domonkos, Domonkos Law
Office, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General;
Caitlin F. Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General;
Katherine A. Adams, Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D.
Jackson, Faculty Director, Prosecution Assistance Program,
Saige N. Smith, Student Director, Brandon J. Rosty, Student
Intern. Argument by Mr. Rosty.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL [*] , DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Appellant Evan Ernest Kennison entered a conditional guilty
plea to one count of possession of marijuana, in violation of
Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(i)(A) and (c)(iii) (Lexis
Nexis 2017). Mr. Kennison appeals the district court's
order denying his motion to suppress the marijuana Trooper
Aaron Kirlin discovered in his possession during a traffic
stop on Interstate 80. We affirm.
Mr. Kennison raises one issue on appeal which we rephrase as
district court err when it determined Trooper Kirlin's
extended contact with Mr. Kennison was a consensual encounter
and did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States
On the morning of April 13, 2016, Trooper Kirlin was on
patrol on Interstate 80 west of Laramie, Wyoming. He received
a second-hand text message from another trooper stating
Trooper Jason Sills with the Utah Highway Patrol had stopped
a black Toyota pickup with a bed cover and multiple stickers
covering the back window the evening before. Trooper Sills
suspected some sort of criminal activity inside the truck,
but a canine unit was not readily available and the driver
refused to consent to a search of the truck. Just after 7:00
a.m., Trooper Kirlin observed the truck described by Trooper
Sills. Trooper Kirlin began to follow the truck and observed
it cross the center and fog lines several times.
Trooper Kirlin pulled the truck over and as he approached it
he saw both windows were down and the passenger, later
identified as Mr. Kennison, was smoking a freshly lit
cigarette. Trooper Kirlin informed the driver, Dorinda
Wilder, he had pulled her over for multiple lane violations
and he would be issuing her a warning. He requested to see
Ms. Wilder's driver's license, registration, and
proof of insurance, and asked her to accompany him to his
patrol car while he ran her information and prepared the
warning. While in the patrol car, Trooper Kirlin asked Ms.
Wilder if she would be willing to answer some questions and
informed her she did not have to answer any questions if she
did not want to. Ms. Wilder agreed, and Trooper Kirlin
learned Ms. Wilder and Mr. Kennison were returning to their
home in Vermont after a short visit with Mr. Kennison's
cousin in Sacramento, California.
Trooper Kirlin also learned the truck was registered to Mr.
Kennison. Ms. Wilder remained in the patrol car while Trooper
Kirlin returned to the truck to verify Mr. Kennison's
ownership. Trooper Kirlin checked Mr. Kennison's
identification and asked him about the couple's travel
plans. Trooper Kirlin observed Mr. Kennison was still smoking
a cigarette and he appeared very nervous and was trembling.
Trooper Kirlin returned to his patrol car and finished
issuing the warning. He returned Ms. Wilder's
documentation and informed her the traffic stop was complete.
He asked her if she felt free to leave, to which she
responded she did. He then asked if he could ask her some
more questions and, again, told her she did not have to
answer any questions if she did not want to. Ms. Wilder
stated she would answer his questions. Trooper Kirlin asked
her the name of Mr. Kennison's cousin they had ...