United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Stewart District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Suppress. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will
deny the Motion.
FINDINGS OF FACT
January 10, 2018, Sergeant Ryan Bauer, an officer with the
Utah Highway Patrol, was observing traffic from his patrol
car near milepost 63 on Interstate 15. The posted speed limit
in the area is 80 miles per hour. Sergeant Bauer observed a
red SUV that was travelling northbound. Sergeant Bauer
noticed that the vehicle was traveling faster than the other
cars. Sergeant Bauer visually estimated the speed of the red
SUV at 84 or 85 miles per hour. Sergeant Bauer then used a
radar, which showed that the red SUV was travelling between
83 and 84 miles per hour.
red SUV passed Sergeant Bauer's location, he observed
that the tint on the front driver's side window appeared
to be too dark under Utah state law. While he noticed the window
tint as the red SUV passed by, it was the vehicle's speed
that first drew Sergeant Bauer's attention.
upon the speeding and the possible window tint violation,
Sergeant Bauer initiated a stop of the vehicle. When Sergeant
Bauer activated his lights, his dash cam was also activated,
recording the stop beginning thirty seconds prior to the
activation of the lights.
the vehicle stopped, Sergeant Bauer approached and made
contact with Defendant, the driver of the vehicle. A female
passenger was also in the vehicle. Sergeant Bauer asked
Defendant for his license and the vehicle's registration.
While Defendant was gathering the documentation, Sergeant
Bauer informed Defendant that the window tinting appeared too
dark but did not say anything about speeding at that time.
Defendant expressed surprise about the window tint and
Sergeant Bauer stated that it did not appear as dark as he
initially believed. However, Sergeant Bauer did not test the
window tint at that time.
Bauer then asked the occupants of the vehicle about their
travel plans. Defendant stated that they were travelling to
Denver. When asked whether the car belonged to him, Defendant
stated it did not. Throughout the encounter, Defendant
provided inconsistent statements about who owned the
Defendant then informed Sergeant Bauer that he did not have a
license. He later informed Sergeant Bauer that his license
then produced documentation regarding the vehicle, which
conflicted with Defendant's statements about the
ownership of the car. During this exchange, Sergeant Bauer
noticed that Defendant was extremely nervous.
Bauer then brought Defendant back to his patrol car. Soon
after entering the patrol car, Defendant informed Sergeant
Bauer that he might have a warrant for his arrest out of
California. At that point, Sergeant Bauer stated, for the
first time, that he also pulled Defendant over for speeding.
Defendant denied that he was speeding.
Bauer continued to attempt to determine who owned the car.
Defendant stated that he did not know who purchased the car.
Bauer then asked Defendant about the passenger. Defendant
stated that her name was Maria. That name did not match the
identification card the passenger had provided. Additionally,
Defendant stated that he had known the passenger for about a
year but did not know her last name.
nine minutes into the stop, Sergeant Bauer asked for a K-9
unit to assist him. Sergeant Bauer then contacted dispatch to
run the information Defendant and the passenger had provided.
While waiting for dispatch, Sergeant Bauer continued to ask
Defendant about his license status, the possible warrant, the
owner of the car, and their travel plans. During this period,
Defendant informed Sergeant Bauer that he was on probation in
California for having a stolen car and had not informed his
probation officer that he was leaving the state.
officer, Trooper Mackelprang, arrived with his K-9 about
twenty-one minutes into the stop. Trooper Mackelprang had the
passenger exit the vehicle. Trooper Mackelprang then ran his
dog around the car beginning approximately twenty-four
minutes into the stop. The dog alerted to the car, indicating
the presence of narcotics. After the dog indicated, dispatch
informed Sergeant Bauer that it had confirmed that
Defendant's license was suspended.
Bauer then requested permission to search the car. Defendant
stated that he would not say yes, but would also not say no.
The officers then conducted a search of the car. They located