Protective sweep unlawful; no exigent circumstances when investigating “noise at vacant house”

State v. Ibarra-Raya, Washington Court of Appeals, Division III, filed July 1, 2008.

Around 2:00 AM, police received 911 call of noise from a vacant house. Police went out to investigate and saw lights on and heard party noises, but nothing alarming. Police saw a truck without a license plate, but with a temporary permit. Police learned thought the vehicle was stolen from California after processing the VIN number. When police knocked on the front door, the lights in the living room turned off. Another officer was on the side of the house and saw two men go into a room, come out of the room, and then open the back door. Police ordered the men to stay inside the house. Police followed the men inside the house and performed a protective sweep of the house, observing marijuana and cash. Officers also learned that only the license plates from the truck were stolen and that Mr. Ibarra-Raya was subleasing the house. Based on what the police saw during the protective sweep, police obtained a search warrant and later found cocaine, over $400,000 in plastic bags, and marijuana.

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Officer’s request for name in a parking lot not a seizure, but contact in public place

State v. Vanderpool, Court of Appeals, Division III, Docket No. 26402-5, decided June 10, 2008

Police officer performed random check of vehicle’s license observed driving in a parking lot, licensing records indicated that registered owner’s husband’s license was suspended. Police officer thought the driver was registered owner’s husband. The driver parked the vehicle, the police officer pulled behind the parked car, and asked the driver if he was the registered owner’s husband. He said he was not and gave his correct name, Mr. Vanderpool, and provided his ID. He told the officer that he didn’t have a driver’s license. Records showed that Mr. Vanderpool’s driver’s license was suspended. The police officer arrested Mr. Vanderpool and found methamphetamine search incident to the arrest.

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No seizure where no “show of authority” by police officer on foot towards pedestrian

State v. Harrington, Washington Court of Appeals, Division III, Docket No. 25497-6, filed May 13, 2008

A police officer in patrol observed Mr. Harrington walking at 11:00 PM and parked in a driveway ahead of him. The police officer got out of his car and asked to speak to Mr. Harrington. Mr. Harrington agreed and the officer told him that he was not under arrest. The officer asked what Mr. Harrington was doing and observed several items in Mr. Harrington’s pockets. Mr. Harrington first said that he had visited his sister, but when asked where she lived, he said he didn’t know. Mr. Harrington kept putting his hands in his pockets, despite the officer’s requests to not do so. The police officer asked to check Mr. Harrington’s pockets and he agreed. The officer did a pat down of the outside of the pocket and felt a hard cylindrical object. Mr. Harrington said it was a meth pipe. The officer told Mr. Harrington that he was under arrest. A small amount of methamphetamine was discovered during the search incident to arrest.

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