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State v. Page

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARK PAGE, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Jeffrey L. Harris, District Associate Judge.

         The defendant appeals the denial of his motion to suppress.

          John Bishop of John Bishop Law Office, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Mullins, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Mark Page appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress. Page claims the district court should have granted his motion because he only admitted to using marijuana after being subjected to custodial interrogation without first receiving a Miranda warning.[1]

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On May 23, 2014, at approximately 7:40 p.m., State Trooper James Smith initiated a stop of Page's vehicle after Smith saw the vehicle traveling seventy-nine miles per hour in a zone with a maximum speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour. When he approached the vehicle, the trooper noticed Page had a newly lit cigarette. Trooper Smith later testified he had experience with drivers attempting to use the smell of a cigarette to mask the scent of alcohol or marijuana. Additionally, Trooper Smith noticed Page's hands were shaking, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and he seemed to be struggling to identify his registration. Smith asked Page to come back to his squad car to sit while Smith ran Page's information on the in-car computer and then for Page to sign to the citation for speeding on the computer as well. Page let himself into the front seat of the squad car, and the doors remained unlocked while he sat in the passenger seat. Once he was sitting in the squad car, Trooper Smith asked Page if he had smoked marijuana recently, and Page admitted he had smoked marijuana that morning. Trooper Smith advised Page he would conduct a few tests to determine if Page was impaired from the marijuana, and Page stated he had been smoking the drug for thirty years and had a high tolerance. Page later stated it was 2:00 p.m. when he smoked marijuana. At one point he described his use as "just a puff" although he later told Trooper Smith he had "smoked a bowl." The officer had Page perform a number of field sobriety tests, which Page completed with mixed results. Trooper Smith then observed inside Page's mouth and noticed "a greenish brown tint on his tongue, " which can "[s]ometimes be an indicator of marijuana use." At that point, the officer placed Page under arrest for operating while intoxicated, read him his Miranda rights, and transported him to the local police station. Page gave a urine sample for drug testing, and the test result showed THC-indicating use of marijuana-in the sample.

         Page was charged by trial information with operating while intoxicated, second offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2014). He filed a motion to suppress, asking the court to suppress all evidence "obtained as a result of the illegal search and seizure." Following a hearing on the matter, the district court denied Page's motion.

         After a bench trial, the district court found Page guilty as charged. He was sentenced to a term of incarceration not to exceed 365 days with all but fourteen days suspended. Page appeals.

         II. Standard of Review.

         "We review the district court's denial of a motion to suppress based on the deprivation of a constitutional right de novo." In re Pardee, 872 N.W.2d 384, 390 (Iowa 2015).

         III. ...


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