Archive | Motion to suppress

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State v. Kasparek

State v. Kasparek, 2016 MT 163 (July 12, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Kasparek’s motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant, and (2) whether the district court erred in denying Kasparek’s motion to suppress statements he made while in custody.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.


Facts: In August 2013, Deputy Sheriff Stokes responded to a report of a burglary at a residence in Browning. The owner, Judy Como, had been at work from 7 pm-7 am, and told the officer her house had been burglarized while she was gone. Several items were missing, including her estranged husband Spencer Atchley’s drug test results. The front door showed signs of forced entry.…

City of Missoula v. Tye

City of Missoula v. Tye, 2016 MT 153 (June 21, 2016) (Shea, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in affirming the municipal court’s order denying Tye’s motion so suppress.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: A man called 911 at 1:37 am one night in May 2014 to report a drunk driver. He told the dispatcher where he was driving, what the car looked like, and what the driver was doing. He could not describe the driver because of the car’s tinted windows, and could not see the license plate. He gave his name and phone number, and said he could be contacted. He said he would possibly sign a complaint if necessary.

A Missoula police officer responded to the report, and passed a vehicle in the vicinity of the report that fit the description given.…

State v. Crawford

State v. Crawford, 2016 MT 96 (April 26, 2016) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Crawford’s motion to suppress; (2) whether Crawford received ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) whether the district court improperly denied Crawford’s third discovery request; (4) whether the district court erred by denying Crawford’s post-trial motion to dismiss; and (5) whether the district court adequately addressed Crawford’s complaints about his assigned counsel.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) no; (4) no; and (5) yes.


Facts: Crawford was released on parole in December 2010 after incarceration at Montana State Prison for multiple drug-related felony convictions. As a condition of his parole, he was required to obtain written permission from his parole officer before traveling outside of Silver Bow, Beaverhead, Jefferson or Deer Lodge counties.…

State v. Kant

State v. Kant, 2016 MT 42 (Feb. 23, 2016) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Shea, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in denying Kant’s motion to suppress and dismiss.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Bradley Kant and his wife, Crystal, had registered caregiver’s licenses under the Montana Marijuana Act allowing them to grow and distribute marijuana in accordance with the law. Upon expiration of their licenses they did not renew them, but continued growing and distributing marijuana.…

State v. Ballinger

State v. Ballinger, 2016 MT 300 (Feb. 9, 2016) (Shea, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in finding the police officer had particularized suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop of Ballinger.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: A neighbor called police one night to report the front door of a house across the street was open. Officer Morrison arrived and found the front door open, the lights on, and no one around. He parked his vehicle and waited. He then saw a man and woman, later identified as Ballinger and Julie Ramirez, get out of a car and walk toward the open house. He got out and spoke to them, explaining why he was there and asking where they were going.…

State v. Hala

State v. Hala, 2015 MT 300 (Oct. 20, 2015) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether a blood test drawn more than eight hours after the act of driving was taken within a reasonable time under the circumstances; and (2) whether the district court erred by holding certain evidence was admissible under the inevitable discovery rule when the state made that argument for the first time at the suppression hearing.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the Court declines to reach this issue after affirming on the first issue.


Facts: Hala’s truck drifted off the road and crashed early one morning in November 2013. Because he was injured and could not call for assistance, the accident went unreported until about 5 am.…

State v. Poitras

State v. Poitras, 2015 MT 287 (Oct. 6, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion by concluding sufficient foundation existed to admit the result of Poitras’s breath test.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Casey Poitras was arrested for DUI in May 2012, and submitted to a breath test on an Intoxilyzer 8000, which registered a BAC of .149%. Poitras moved to exclude the results, arguing the county’s two senior operators of the Intoxilyzer were not properly recertified. The state put in evidence that both operators had successfully competed their recertification exams in January 2012 and were issued new permits, but did not provide evidence of prior examinations. Poitras argued this evidence was necessary to show they were properly recertified in accordance with the rules.…

City of Missoula v. Sharp

City of Missoula v. Sharp, 2015 MT 289 (Oct. 6, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (6-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the officer had sufficient objective data to form particularized suspicion to justify the investigatory stop of Sharp.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Officer Lloyd was parked in downtown Missoula one November night when he observed several vehicles stop at a stoplight, one of which was sharp’s pickup. The speed limit there is 25 mph. When the light turned green, Lloyd heard Sharp rev the engine and speed across the intersection, leaving the other cars behind. Lloyd turned into traffic and followed Sharp with his lights activated. Sharp stopped after a few blocks. Lloyd noticed Sharp slurring his speech, and was eventually charged with DUI after refusing to submit to a breath or alcohol test.…

State v. Larson

State v. Larson, 2015 MT 271 (Sept. 15, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Larson’s motion to suppress statements made in police custody; and (2) whether Larson’s counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to present the video recording of the police interview at the suppression hearing.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.


Facts: Susie Casey was found dead in the Yellowstone River in the spring of 2008, several weeks after her family reported her missing. An autopsy determined she had died of strangulation and then been put in the water.

Larson and Susie married in 1993. Susie filed for divorce in 1997, which became final in February 1998. Larson did not want the divorce, and had no contact with the children for several years after the marriage ended.…

State v. Emerson

State v. Emerson, 2015 MT 254 (Aug. 26, 2015) (Shea, J.) (6-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in denying Emerson’s motion to suppress because her consent to a search was the fruit of an illegal seizure.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Deputy Robins stopped a vehicle near Shelby because he recognized the driver, Joseph Bentley, and knew there was a felony warrant out for his arrest. Emerson was a passenger in Bentley’s car. Bentley was arrested and the car was released to Emerson.

About an hour later, Emerson went to the Toole County sheriff’s office to request a gas card, but it didn’t have any. Emerson left the buildlng. A few min utes later, the sheriff’s office received a teletype from the Great Falls police department with an attempt to locate the car Emerson was driving.…