GARRETT A. WRIGHT, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Albany County The Honorable Tori
R.A. Kricken, Judge
Representing Appellant: Tim Newcomb, Laramie, Wyoming; R.
Michael Vang, R. Michael Vang, P.C., Laramie, Wyoming.
Argument by Mr. Vang.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General;
Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General; Darrell D.
Jackson, Faculty Director, University of Wyoming Prosecution
Assistance Program; Catherine M. Mercer, Student Director.
Argument by Ms. Mercer.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Appellant, Garrett A. Wright, entered a conditional guilty
plea to the charge of possession of marijuana (third or
subsequent offense), reserving his right to appeal the
district court's denial of his motion to suppress
evidence. Finding no error, we affirm the denial of the
motion to suppress and, hence, Mr. Wright's conviction
Mr. Wright presents the following issue on appeal: Did the
warrantless detention of Mr. Wright violate the Fourth
Amendment and Wyoming Constitution Article I, §§ 4,
6 and 36?
In preparation to direct traffic from the Albany County
Fairgrounds at the end of the Jubilee Days rodeo on the
evening of July 15, 2017, Laramie Police Officer Christopher
Cleven and another officer parked their patrol cars in the
middle of Highway 287 with lights flashing. Officer Cleven
wore his department-issued helmet and safety vest, and stood
positioned to stop traffic heading northbound on Highway 287
in order to allow vehicles to exit the fairgrounds. As
Officer Cleven signaled with his flashlight for oncoming
traffic to stop, an approaching pickup truck maintained
highway speed until it was within 150 feet of Officer Cleven.
The truck then rapidly decreased speed and came to a complete
stop after veering onto the right shoulder, about 30 feet
past Officer Cleven.
Officer Cleven found Mr. Wright in the truck, looking dazed
and moving items from the center console to behind the
driver's seat. Rather than rolling down his window as
Officer Cleven asked, Mr. Wright lit a cigarette. When Mr.
Wright finally rolled his window down, Officer Cleven
immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana. After taking
a Standard Field Sobriety Test, Mr. Wright told Officer
Cleven he had smoked marijuana at noon that day and there was
marijuana in the center console. Officer Cleven searched the
vehicle, finding marijuana and a glass pipe with marijuana
Mr. Wright moved to suppress the evidence,  challenging the
validity and scope of the stop for a variety of reasons. At
the evidentiary hearing, Mr. Wright abandoned several of his
arguments and focused entirely on the justification for the
initial stop of his vehicle. He also conceded that if the
district court concluded that the stop was justified, then
the remainder of the detention, and ultimate search, was
justified. Following the hearing, the district court denied
the motion, finding probable cause justified the initial
stop, and allowed Mr. Wright to enter a conditional guilty
plea pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11(a)(2). The district court
sentenced Mr. Wright to three to five years'
incarceration, with credit for time previously served, and
suspended the sentence subject to three years' supervised
probation. Mr. Wright timely appealed.
We review de novo the question of whether Officer Cleven
legally detained Mr. Wright. Rodriguez v. State,
2018 WY 134, ¶ 15, 430 P.3d 766, 770 (Wyo. 2018)
(citation omitted). However, in reviewing the denial of Mr.
Wright's motion to suppress, we adopt the district
court's factual findings unless those findings are
clearly erroneous, id, and view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the ...