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State v. Binks

Supreme Court of Utah

March 6, 2018

State of Utah, Appellee,
v.
Michael Binks, Appellant.

         On Direct Appeal Fourth District, Provo The Honorable Claudia Laycock No. 141401875

          Sean D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Karen A. Klucznik, Asst. Solic. Gen., Julia Thomas, Salt Lake City, for appellee.

          Douglas J. Thompson, Margaret P. Lindsay, Provo, for appellant.

          Associate Chief Justice Lee authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Durrant, Justice Himonas, Justice Pearce, and Justice Petersen joined.

          OPINION

          Lee, Associate Chief Justice.

         ¶1 Michael Binks was convicted of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. In this appeal he challenges the denial of his motion to suppress the evidence that formed the basis for his conviction. We affirm.

         ¶2 When officers stopped Binks's vehicle, they had at least reasonable suspicion to investigate two traffic violations and possible drug possession. And when the officers approached the vehicle they gained reasonable suspicion of another offense-driving under the influence. The officers were entitled under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), to detain Binks for a reasonable time while they investigated these offenses. We affirm on that basis without reaching the other two grounds asserted by the State for defending the search-that police were justified in searching Binks based on the warrant for the apartment Binks had just visited and that Binks was within the vicinity of the residence covered by the search warrant and thus a proper subject of the warrant under Bailey v. United States, 568 U.S. 186 (2013).

         I

         ¶3 On June 26, 2014, the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant on an apartment in American Fork, Utah. Officers with the task force had obtained a warrant to search the listed apartment for "narcotics, paraphernalia, " and "other items associated with the use/distribution of controlled substances." The warrant also authorized police to search (1) any "person at the location or attempting to leave the location at the time of warrant service" and (2) "[a]ny vehicle parked at the location or attempting to leave the location during the time of service."

         ¶4 Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on June 26, Detective Phillip Crawford began surveilling the apartment from a position in the parking lot behind the apartment. Two other officers, Sergeant Jones and Deputy Robinson, had set up surveillance a few blocks away. Just before Detective Crawford could leave his vehicle and serve the warrant, he saw two men arrive in a silver SUV. One or both men then entered the apartment, stayed for two or three minutes, and left in the SUV.

         ¶5 As the SUV left the premises, Detective Crawford radioed orders to Sergeant Jones and Deputy Robinson to stop the car. Detective Crawford also reported that the SUV had failed to signal when exiting the parking lot. Crawford believed that the vehicle was covered within the terms of the warrant, but noted the traffic violation as "kind of a double safety."

         ¶6 Immediately after radioing to Sergeant Jones and Deputy Robinson, Detective Crawford and other officers served the warrant on the apartment identified in the warrant. Detective Crawford testified that the elapsed time between radioing a description of the car and serving the warrant on the apartment was just "long enough to walk . . . the distance from our vehicle to where the residence is."

         ¶7 Sergeant Jones received the order from Detective Crawford and almost immediately spotted the silver SUV. While tailing the car, Jones saw the driver commit yet another traffic violation- stopping beyond the painted line at a stop sign. The officers activated their lights and stopped the car at 8:01 a.m.

         ¶8 When Deputy Robinson approached the vehicle, he noticed that Michael Binks, the driver, had glossy and bloodshot eyes and that the vehicle smelled of alcohol. The officer also noted that Binks seemed "very nervous"-"actually shaking, he was that nervous." Deputy Robinson suspected that Binks was under the influence of drugs or alcohol ...


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