J. BRANDON WORKMAN, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Weston County The Honorable John
R. Perry, Judge
Representing Appellant: David McCarthy of David McCarthy,
P.C., Rawlins, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee: Bridget L. Hill, Wyoming Attorney
General; Jenny L. Craig, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne
M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Emily M.
Croucher, Student Intern. Argument by Ms. Croucher.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Appellant, J. Brandon Workman, entered a conditional guilty
plea to possession of a controlled substance, in violation of
Wyoming Statute § 35-7-1031(c)(iii), 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, thus, Mr. Workman's
conviction and sentence.
We combine and rephrase the parties' issues into the
following dispositive questions:
1.Whether Mr. Workman preserved his argument that Deputy
Christopher Case deliberately included misstatements in his
affidavit, and, if so, whether those misstatements were
necessary to establish probable cause to search Mr.
2.Whether deputies obtained evidence necessary to establish
probable cause to search the camper in violation of Mr.
Workman's rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United
On September 8, 2017, Weston County Fire Warden Daniel Tysdal
reported to a fire which had broken out on private property
near Breakneck Road. At approximately 6:20 p.m., Warden Tysdal
contacted the Weston County Sherriff's Office and
requested it dispatch a deputy to "discuss possible
causes of the fire and possible violations" of state
law. The Sherriff's Office dispatched Deputy Case.
On reaching the scene, Deputy Case noticed the fire "was
in the process of being put out." He also noticed
"a camper next to the fire, maybe within 20 feet at
best, and various items outside the camper that may or may
not be flammable." Deputy Case then spoke to Warden
Tysdal, who informed him that "unknown means"
started the fire, that the fire had spread to seven and
one-half acres, and that neighbors and passersby indicated
that Mr. Workman owned the property. After speaking with
Warden Tysdal, Deputy Case attempted to "check"
inside the camper due to its "proximity . . . [to] where
the fire started," to make sure no one was inside, and
also to determine any possible reasons the fire started.
The means Deputy Case used to "check" inside the
camper are critical to this case. After noticing that a
padlock secured the camper's sole door, Deputy Case
noticed a window, with a gap in its curtains, next to the
front door (i.e., "the first
window"). Deputy Case looked through that window and
saw drug paraphernalia and other items which led him to
question whether the camper housed a "meth lab."
Deputy Case notified Deputy Dan Fields who then notified
Deputy Jason Jenkins. After Deputies Fields and Jenkins
arrived, Deputy Case educated them on his findings. Then, at
some point, one of the Deputies opened the plastic covering
the large front window (i.e., "the second window")
to take pictures to send to the Wyoming Division of Criminal
Investigation (DCI) to confirm whether the camper was a
"meth lab." DCI disabused the Deputies' concern
that the camper housed a "meth lab," but suggested
that the objects in the picture required further
Deputy Case returned to the Sherriff's Office to prepare
an affidavit and obtain a warrant to search the camper. At
approximately 3:30 a.m. the following morning, September 9, a
magistrate granted the warrant and Deputy Case returned to
the scene to transport the camper to the Sherriff's
impound lot. Deputy Case returned to execute the warrant
around 2:00 p.m. that day. The padlock on the camper's
front door was cut, and Deputies found 13.85 ounces of
marijuana and a bag containing 0.79 grams of methamphetamine
The State charged Mr. Workman with possession with intent to
deliver a controlled substance, and later amended the
information to add a charge for possession of a controlled
substance. Mr. Workman filed a motion to suppress,
challenging "the reasonableness of a search on September
8, 2017, and the probable cause for Search Warrants issued on
September 9, 2017 and September 12, 2017." Mr. Workman's
counsel premised his argument on a misunderstanding of the
timeline of Deputy Case's actions on the night of the
fire. In short, he believed that Deputy Case searched the
camper by cutting the padlock and entering the camper before
he had obtained the search warrant; and, most notably, that
Deputy Case subsequently based his affidavit on what he saw
in plain view during that search. From there, ...