Friday, January 30, 2009

Summary 2009 WY 8

Summary of Decision issued January 29, 2009

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: McGarvey v. State

Citation: 2009 WY 8

Docket Number: S-08-0070

Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County, the Honorable W. Thomas Sullins, Judge.

Representing Appellant McGarvey: Diane M. Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; and Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee State: Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jenny L. Craig, Interim Faculty Director, Prosecution Assistance Program; Eric Thompson, Student Director; and Jill Cottle Garrett, Student Intern.

Facts/Discussion: McGarvey entered conditional pleas of guilty to felony possession of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of methamphetamines. The condition attached to her plea was that she be permitted to pursue an appeal of the district court’s order denying her motion to suppress the evidence seized by the State at the time she was briefly stopped and then arrested.

McGarvey’s contentions were limited to improper searches and seizures under the United States Constitution. The Court referred to their decision in Speten v. State where it described the analytical framework for questions of probable cause. Questions about improper search and seizure are resolved by taking into account the totality of the circumstances. The Court noted that the officer had over 19 years of experience in law enforcement. In Flood v. State, the Court described the three tiers of interaction between police and citizens. The Court determined that the search and seizure in the instant case was not unreasonable. The district court might well have reasoned that the officer’s initial efforts were aimed at a consensual encounter when he followed McGarvey and her companion into the Parkway. McGarvey’s behavior quickly transformed the encounter into an investigatory stop and segued equally as rapidly into an arrest for disobeying the officer’s instructions and McGarvey’s possession of controlled substances.
The Court stated the search of the automobile was a more complicated question. The Court noted that it appeared there was a close temporal relationship between McGarvey’s occupation of the car and her arrest. The officer’s initial action was to merely look through the windows and observe what was in plain view. The Court concluded the factors weighed heavily in favor of categorizing the search as being one incident to her arrest and that the search of it was for evidence of the crime for which she was arrested. Taking into account all of the relevant evidence which the district court was privy to, the Court concluded that the findings were not clearly erroneous and that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Conclusion: The Court held that the district court properly denied McGarvey’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained incident to a search of her person and of her car.


J. Hill delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

No comments:

Check out our tags in a cloud (from Wordle)!